Campaigners to challenge London City Airport flights increase

22.7.2009         (Local Guardian)

REDBRIDGE: Legal challenge to be launched against extra flights

by Daniel Binns

CAMPAIGNERS are to launch a legal challenge against controversial plans to increase
the number of flights over east London from London City Airport.

Earlier this month some residents were outraged when Newham Council agreed to
allow an extra 50,000 plane journeys from the busy airport, bringing City’s annual
flight total to 120,000.

Protesters argue the increase will lead to greater pollution and noise for people
living in places such as Wanstead and Woodford which are under the airport’s flightpaths.

Trevor Gordon, 48, of Mansfield Road in Wanstead, said his life has been made
a “living hell” since changes to the airport’s flightpaths were made in May, and
is concerned that house prices in the area could be affected by the excess noise.

He said: “I’ve lived in inner London for quite some time and I only moved to
Wanstead three and a half years ago for some peace and quiet. But ever since May
it’s been a nightmare.

“The planes come so low the windows in my home even rattle sometimes.

“I can’t even sit in my garden because the noise is just so unpleasant.

“All my neighbours are very unhappy about it too and I will certainly support
the legal action.”

The challenge is being launched by the Fight the Flights group.

Spokeswoman Anne-Marie Griffin said legal advice had suggested there was a “very strong case” for a judicial
review of Newham Council’s decision.

The group are now appealing for funds from the public before they begin legal

Ms Griffin said: “London City Airport expansion has been the ‘forgotten’ expansion,
despite it now being regarded as a major airport, and despite residents’ best

“We want residents to have access fairness and justice and of whom many in live
in the most affected areas, but whom have been denied a voice.”

London City Airport have said the extra flights will be good for the economy
of east London, and will also benefit local communities.

A spokeswoman for Newham Council said:   "Following an extensive consultation
process, which included a significant amount of input from members of the public,
we are confident that this decision is in the best interest of the communities
of Newham.”

See the Fight the Flights blogspot at

All donations for the legal challenge will be gratefully received.

Join the campaign by emailing



More information:


FtF Legal Challenge Fund Appeal

Fight The Flights  (FTF) is a residents group made up of residents from across
the boroughs affected by London City Airports operations in east/south east London
and beyond. We were founded specifically to give a voice to objectors to the 50%
increase in flight expansion at London City Airport. FTF is now almost two years

FTF was set up in direct response to many residents finding that they had not
been consulted about the expansion plans of London City Airport by the London
Borough of Newham. Many found out about the plans by accident, just days before
the original planning deadline in October 2007. This was despite many of them
living in the areas that are most affected by the airports’ current and future
operations: in the noise contour and crash zone.

FTF has worked hard lobbying the London Borough of Newham (the planning authority
for London City Airport) during this period, producing evidence which indicated
that a 50% increase in flights, in the most densely populated area of the UK,
and one of the most socially deprived, was harmful to the health and welfare of
residents and to the environment. We have also lobbied: MP’s, Ministers, Councillors,
The Mayor of London, GLA, LDA, the secretary of state, local councils, and non
governmental organisations such as the RSPB. We have also been to the Houses of
Parliament and City Hall for meetings to discuss the issues. Since October 2007
we have been actively working with Friends of the Earth and have received legal
advice and guidance from them on the planning application and support in growing
our campaign. We also work with other individuals and residents groups such as
the Heathrow Association for Control of Air Noise (HACAN), John Stewart, voted
by the Independent as the UK’s top environmental campaigner and Stop Stansted
Expansion (SSE) along with others.

Fight The Flights concerns are for the community and the environment. We are
gravely concerned that the London Borough of Newham have allowed London City Airport
to neglect it’s legal obligations in regard to noise and air monitoring during
2000-2008, failing to consistently measure either during this period. The planning
application was based on a considerable amount of ‘estimated’ data from the airport
due to this, and which the council have accepted over the concerns of residents,
who are increasingly complaining about noise levels and odours from fuel burn
by their homes. Newham also has the highest rates of mortality in under 30s with
asthma in the country which adds further concern on how such brazen expansion
will continue to impact on human health. It is estimated that pollution from airports
travels approximately 20 miles downwind of the runway.

Newham Council voted to approve the 50% flight expansion, taking the current
annual air traffic movements up to 120,000 a year. On challenge from Friends of
the Earths’ Rights and Justice Centre the council were asked to review the air
quality data, and justify the lack of a race equality impact study. The council
met again on Wednesday 8 July 2009 to consider the further issues raised, and
have once again approved the expansion despite data showing that air pollution
levels are already exceeding the EU Limits. LB Newham have also stated that there
is no requirement for a race equality impact study, despite the airport being
in the most ethnically diverse borough in the country.

Airport consultants have advised that the pollution levels can be mitigated by
encouraging more LCY users to change their transport methods to and from the airport.
We do not believe that this would result in the shift required to reduce air pollution
levels to beneath the levels set by the EU’s council directive and the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2007.

Even after the introduction of the DLR service to the airport over 3 years ago
statistics show that around 56% of passengers still travel to and from the airport
by vehicle, be that taxi, private hire, or private car.

Newham Council continue to justify their decision by the job creation claims
of London City Airport. However the airport has failed to deliver on job creation
promises before. In 1998 they estimated 4,275 jobs by 2005. However after over
20 years of operation the airport still only directly employs just over 120 Newham
residents, and has breached the planning conditions in not meeting employment
targets set over the past 10 years. Newham Council continue to ignore this, along
with the airport operating over 20,000 more flights in year ending 2008 than allowed
in their planning approval. Newham have taken no action to enforce the planning
conditions despite residents repeatedly requesting that they do so.

Most of all, FTF wants the communities to be treated fairly, and they have not.
We cannot meet climate change targets by allowing unfettered flight expansion,
nor can we improve, or even maintain the quality of life or health of the residents
in these areas if the London Borough of Newham is listening to business facts
rather than environmental and health facts.

Since the most recent planning officers report, and the decision by Newham to
continue to support the expansion we have received legal advice. We have been
advised that there is a very strong case for a judicial review.

We are asking for your assistance to help us put social justice, the environment
and the health and welfare of the communities at the heart of this planning decision.
FTF residents all work, but are not able to afford to fund a legal case themselves
and are campaigning in the second most socially deprived borough in London, which
severely limits funding directly from residents.

We are seeking funding for the legal costs of a judicial review from organisations
or individuals who have an interest in protecting our environment and of promoting
social justice, and the health and safety of some of the most deprived areas in
the country. We are more than happy to meet to discuss our campaign, and the legal
case with you in further detail at your request and answer any other questions
you may have. If you wish to donate an amount, small or large please contact us
to find out how you can donate.

London City Airport expansion has been the ‘forgotten’ expansion despite it now
being regarded as a major airport, and despite our best efforts. We believe it
is one of the most harmful expansions in the country, due to it’s location in
the most densely populated area of the country. Please help us to access fairness
and justice for the people who are in the most affected areas, but whom have been
denied a voice.

Fight the Flights