Despair in East London as CAA approves new concentrated flight paths – there may be a legal challenge
Many residents in East London are in despair following the CAA announcement that it will allow London City Airport to concentrate its flight paths. Campaign group HACAN East is considering legal action against the CAA. Departure routes will be concentrated over places like Bow, parts of Leyton, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Dagenham and parts of Havering. Areas of South London will also experience more concentrated routes. The decision follows uproar at the lack of consultation on the proposals last year. City Airport just put a technical document on its website and informed the Consultative Committee. It was left to HACAN East to hold public meetings in the areas which would be affected. The airport argued it only had to carry out a minimal consultation. Local people, backed by many local authorities, MPs and members of the GLA, said that a full consultation should have been carried out as some areas would get 30% more planes than now. The CAA was inundated with letters calling for a fresh consultation, but the new announcement means it has ruled this out. For those who barely had planes over them in recent years, facing living under a concentrated flight path indefinitely is a miserable prospect. The CAA is not fit for purpose, and being funded largely by the airlines, it should not make these decisions.
Despair in East London as CAA approves new concentrated flight paths – Campaigners may mount legal challenge
27.11.2015 (Hacan East)
Many residents in East London are in despair following yesterday’s announcement by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that it will allow London City Airport to concentrate its flight paths. Campaign group HACAN East is considering legal action against the CAA.
Departure routes will be concentrated over places like Bow, parts of Leyton, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Dagenham and parts of Havering. Areas of South London will also experience more concentrated routes.
The decision follows uproar at the lack of consultation on the proposals last year.
City Airport just put a technical document on its website and informed the Consultative Committee. It was left to HACAN East to hold public meetings in the areas which would be affected. The airport argued that, because the change was largely replicating what was already happening, it was only required by the CAA to carry out a minimal consultation.
Local people, backed by many local authorities, MPs and members of the Greater London Authority, said that a full consultation should have been carried out as some areas would get 30% more planes than they do at present. The CAA was inundated with letters calling for a fresh consultation. Yesterday’s announcement means that the CAA has ruled out a new consultation.
HACAN East chair John Stewart said, “Many people will be in utter despair of the decision. It means that residents who were hardly overflown at all by planes from London City a few years back face the prospect of living under a concentrated flight path for the rest of their lives. It is a terrible prospect.” More of the history of the issue.
Stewart added, “The CAA is already under fire for its attitude towards residents around Heathrow and Gatwick. It is simply wrong that a body largely funded by the aviation industry should be taking these decisions. In our view it is not fit for purpose to have these responsibilities. We are discussing a possible legal challenge with our lawyers.”
For more background http://www.hacaneast.org.uk/2015/10/simply-unfair/
CAA approve various airspace changes, but review of the airspace change process is under way
The CAA has the ultimate ability to approve changes to airspace and flight paths. There is a long process through which proposed changes have to go, including development of the proposal, the preparation of the public consultation, collating and analysing the responses, modifying the airspace design if necessary, providing feedback to consultees, decision by the CAA, implementation of the change, and then operational review a year after its introduction. There is currently a review under way, by the aviation consultancy, Helios, of the CAA’s process for changing use of airspace. It is looking at strengths/weaknesses in the process, possible improvements, including better transparency and accountability. Before any reform of the airspace change process is implemented, the CAA will hold a public consultation – expected before spring 2016. Meanwhile, the CAA has approved some airspace changes, covering eastern and southern England. They say these “will enable aircraft to fly more efficiently, help reduce the number of low-level flights and reduce the environmental impact of aviation.” The aim is to save money/fuel for airlines, and thus reduce CO2 emissions. The intention is also, where possible, to slightly reduce noise exposure.
City Airport wants to press ahead with controversial flight changes despite only 3% support in recent consultation
London City Airport wants to press ahead with controversial plans to concentrate flight paths despite only 3% of people backing them in the recent consultation. Its consultation ended in November 2014, and the airport produced a report report on the consultation on 13th February. The report now goes to the CAA for approval. London City Airport’s consultation was widely criticized in 2014. The airport had refused to leaflet or hold meetings in the areas that would be worst affected by the new concentrated flight paths. It justified its minimal consultation on the grounds that the changes it was proposing were not significant. Despite criticism from MPs, local authorities, residents’ groups and members of the Greater London Authority, London City has defended its consultation in its report to the CAA. It is also refusing to withdraw or modify its original plans. Residents’ organisation HACAN East, which coordinated much of the opposition to the changes, believes the airport has been typically arrogant and unresponsive – and not given any consideration to the possibility of respite for various areas, at different times of day. London City Airport expresses very little concern for its neighbouring communities. HACAN East say the fight by residents will continue, and they will be pressing the CAA to order the airport to carry out a fresh consultation.
HACAN East’s official response to London City Airport’s flight path consultation
London City Airport has a public consultation on changes to its flight paths, which ends on 27th November. The consultation has been widely regarded as inadequate, as there is insufficient detail, and among those criticising the consultation are several councils. The community group representing people under London City Airport flight paths, HACAN East have published their consultation response. It says concentration of flight paths, without respite, is inequitable and will subject thousands to significantly more noise. They say this concentration without respite is contrary to Government policy, as the CAA itself states: “When seeking opportunities to provide respite for those already affected by aircraft noise it is important that decisions about respite should always be made after considering the specific local circumstances and through engagement with the local community.” HACAN East also complains that the quality of the consultation has been poor. The airport did not directly tell local authorities, MPs, GLA or local residents, and refused to hold public meetings in, or leaflet, the affected areas. They are unimpressed at the claims flight path changes would contribute much in savings of carbon emissions.
Packed public meeting in Wanstead calls on London City airport to reconsult over flight path changes
There is growing anger in areas affected by London City Airport flight paths, because of the inadequate consultation they have launched – it ends on 27th November. On 3rd November, there was a packed meeting in Wanstead, which called on the airport to re-consult. Over 200 people crammed into Wanstead Library and gave London City Airport a very tough time over its failure to consult local people, and even their local councillors, over its plans. The airport wants to concentrate departing flights in a narrow band over Bow, Leyton, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Collier Row and Havering. Planes arriving over South London will also be concentrated. Most councillors knew nothing about the plans until contacted by HACAN East. The plans are on the airport website, but the airport has not put out leaflets or held any public information sessions. Roger Evans, the GLA member for Redbridge and Havering said, “The decent thing to do is to re-run this consultation.” The CAA has been criticised for allowing this poor consultation. People have been encouraged to write to the CAA and the Government calling for a fresh consultation, and sign a petition against concentrated flight paths.
People in Waltham Forest have criticised London City Airport for not informing residents on proposed flight path changes
London City Airport has a current consultation on the use of high-tech satellite navigations (RNAV) in planes, which would result in a narrower flightpath over Wansted, Leytonstone, Leyton and Barking. Under the plans, most planes travelling to and from the airport would use a ‘flight corridor’ over Waltham Forest and Redbridge, leading to concerns over noise disturbance. Campaign Group HACAN East called on the CAA to stop the process, which it says has not directly consulted people living in either area. Now the deputy leader of Waltham Forest council has written to the head of City Airport and urged him to contact residents. The airport is claiming there is hardly any change, as it is just that planes will follow routes more accurately. The reality is that they will be concentrated along a narrow line, at the centre of the previously wide path swathe. HACAN East is organising a public meeting on 3rd November in Wanstead, as the airport has neither leafleted affected areas, nor arranged a meeting.
Open letter to London City Airport asking that they consult properly on flight path changes, and treat people fairly
London City Airport is proposing to concentrate flight paths, in the same way that other airports have been doing recently. This is how air traffic controllers, NATS and the CAA want airspace to be used in future, in order to fit more aircraft into our already very crowded skies. However, London City Airport decided not go give any prior notice to anyone about the changes, except their Consultative Committee, or any warning about the substantial increase in aircraft noise for those unlucky enough to be under one of the new concentrated routes. It seems even local councils were not notified. Local community group, HACAN East, have now written an open letter to the airport, to complain. HACAN East says the flight path proposals will have a profound effect – for the worse – on the lives of tens of thousands of Londoners. This is deeply inequitable. While the airport makes out that the proposed changes are not significant as the planned flight paths are not noticeably different from the current routes. That is incorrect. There is now a concentrated line. Thousands living in Bow, Leytonstone, Wansted, Catford, Brixton and Vauxhall are very well aware there is a significant change. And that these are seen as unfair.
HACAN East suggested letter of objection to London City Airport re: its plans to concentrate flight paths
London City Airport are conducting a consultation on airspace changes, which started on 4th September. It ends on 27th November. It aims to concentrate flight paths, in line with the intentions of UK air traffic control service, NATS. Concentrating flights along narrow corridors is more efficient for air traffic control. Instead of a swathe of perhaps 2 miles wide along which planes are directed, they can now follow a 100 metre track. This means fewer people in total are overflown; but for those unlucky enough to live under the new concentrated route, the noise can be deeply unpleasant. London City airport chose not to give any warning about the changes to local councils or local residents. It is not leafleting any areas, nor holding public meetings to explain the proposals. The areas particularly affected are Bow, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Colliers Row, Dagenham, Hornchurch, Catford, Dulwich, Brixton, Stockwell and Vauxhall. It is deeply inequitable. Local campaign group, HACAN East, will be holding a public meeting. They also have a simple template letter people can send in, to express their views. The lengthy consultation document is hard for laypeople to clearly understand.