Boris thwarts City Airport plans

31.7.2008   (


A DECISION on London City Airport’s bid to increase flight numbers has been delayed
by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

About 50 people turned up at Newham Council’s planning meeting in Stratford on
Wednesday, July 30, held to debate the airport’s application, but were told the
London Mayor had intervened at the last minute.

The application could see the number of flights at the airport rise from 80,000
to 120,000 each year.

Mr Johnson wrote to the committee just before the meeting to ask them to delay
a decision on the plans, as he wanted to wait for research from the National Air
Traffic Services on the possible impact of increased flights on the proposed Thames
Gateway Bridge.

The committee unanimously agreed to the postponement and will now review the
application in September.

Speaking at the meeting, John Fannon of Newham Council’s planning department,
said: “The Mayor has made a number of points and asked the committee to defer
its decision. He has concerns about safety in terms of alignment with the Thames
Gateway Bridge.

“There’s a study by NATS into this risk due to be reported on soon. Officers
have considered on balance it’s reasonable to defer a decision in light of the
Mayor’s request.”

Mr Fannon added the Department for Transport had said the NATS report is due
to be completed in a month.

He added the Mayor had said in his letter that this does not mean he is against
the airport’s application.

The council then refused requests to debate the application from the public.

Outside the meeting, those against the airport’s plans were happy with the delay.

Greenwich resident Jenny Bates said: “It’s quite ironic as we have been opposing
the Thames Gateway Bridge, which Boris has also said he wants to scrap, but this
is still good news.

“It should give more people time to find out about the airport’s plans and realise
how it would affect them.”

Anne-Marie Griffin from Fight The Flights pressure group said: “It’s good news
the Mayor is looking at safety issues.

“We haven’t seen the letter, but they said there are concerns around the Thames
Gateway Bridge.

“Now we want them to look at wider safety concerns.”