Bromley Council consultation on Biggin Hill Airport’s plans to greatly increase operating hours, especially at weekends
Biggin Hill airport is predominantly used by light aviation and business jets. It has operating hours at present of 6.30am to 10pm on weekdays, and 9am to 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays. However, the airport is now hoping to extend these significantly, by one hour more on weekdays, five and a half hours on Saturdays and four hours on Sundays. That would be a total of 114 hours per week. Local residents are very unhappy about this, and the local group, BRAAD (Bromley Residents Against Airport Development) is urging people to oppose this expansion, in the current consultation – which ends on on 13th March. BRAAD says Bromley is a peaceful residential borough, which attracts families from noisier environments because of the quality of life it has so far offered. However, Biggin Hill Airport has now expanded to the point of threatening the delicate balance between its business aspirations and the residents’ rights to their amenities. The 114 hours proposed by Biggin Hill is much more than its rival private jet airports (London City, Farnborough, or Northolt – an the increase is largely at weekends, early in the morning and late at night, when people may find the noise even more intrusive.
Bromley Residents Against Airport Development
London Borough of Bromley announce the start of the Public Consultation!
BRAAD oppose further expansion at Biggin Hill Airport, situated in the borough of Bromley.
Bromley is a peaceful residential borough, which attracts families from noisier environments because of the quality of life it has so far offered. However, Biggin Hill Airport has now expanded to the point of threatening the delicate balance between its business aspirations and the residents’ rights to their amenities.
The aeroplanes flying over us at low altitude are (among others) the ones we show on the right. On 16th January 2015 Bromley Council launched a consultation about the Airport’s application to increase operating hours to 114 hours per week, more than any of its competitors, weighing heavily on the unsocial hours of early morning, late night and weekends (there would be 9.5 extra hours during the weekend alone).
THE AIRPORT’S EMPTY PROMISES
BRAAD have read the legal Airport’s proposal document: NONE of the major pledges made by the Airport are legally binding or enforceable BUT the concession from the Council would be, for the remaining 104 years of the Lease.
Reasons to object:
1) similar operating hours were rejected twice on a temporary basis during the Olympics. Why would Bromley Council now approve them on a permanent basis?
2) the proposed extended hours are at the most unsocial times, early mornings, late nights and during the weekends.
3) Biggin Hill Airport’s competitors close earlier – we would have other London traffic over us at the most unsocial hours.
4) Bromley is predominantly a residentail borough. The large planes which the airport is already allowed to host, in addition to longer hours at unsocial times, would totally change the nature of the Eastern part of the borough. OR
5) Employment would not go to local residents. Companies would move in with their own specialised employees and Bromley Council would have to use more of the residents’ money to provide infrastucture, housing, schools and services.
6) The airport is already profitable and the Council has already done enough to subsidise it both financially (£1.5 million for runway improvements in the 1990s, a grant of £400,000 in 2006/07, installation of the Instrument Landing System to runway 21 and now allocation of £3.5m for the developement of the aviation college – did we not hear that the Airport was providing that?) and with loose operating terms – now it is time that the council looks after its residents.
7) The mitigating factors that the Airport suggests are only by ‘reasonable endeavours’ but the Council would legally bind the residents to 114 hours per week until the expiry of the Lease (still 104 years to go!)
8) The noise reduction measures that the Airport is offering are only limited to light aircraft (i.e. hobby and training schools), which are decreasing in numbers becaust the Airport intends increasingly to fly larger aircraft (737- or equivalent – size)
9) It turns out that the pledge to ‘fly higher for longer’ cannot be kept because it depends on Gatwick’s consent. Will Gatwick consent while it is involved in a bid for a second runway, competing with Heathrow? We believe it is very unlikely. Certainly, in spite of months of negotiation, such consent does not appear to be forthcoming
10) Also their Noise Action Plan only relates to ‘airport contours’ (a very small area) and does not take into account overflying of many residential towns and take-offs, which are going to be noisier as the larger aeroplanes the Airport intend to fly need more power to climb. Even so, the Airport only offers to ‘assess progress’ once every five years. Not soon then!
11) The Airport offers no restrictions on flying the noisiest and most annoying type of aircraft (helicopters) at night or during the weekend. Nor it shows any intention of banning the Piaggio Avanti so many residents have complained about.
VOTE NO AND NO
on the two questions of the consultation by Bromley Council
Remember to include your name and address, without which communications will not be accepted by the Council
The consultation is online at the following link: http://www.bromley.gov.uk/BigginHillairport.
You can also write to Bromley Council
By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
By letter: Airport Consultation Group, London Borough of Bromley,
Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley BR1 3UH.
Don’t forget your councillors! Please let them know of your objections so they are aware.
Biggin Hill Airport’s Opening Times at present
06.30 – 22.00
WEEKENDS & BANK HOLIDAYS
09.00 – 20.00
BIGGIN HILL has requested an increase to 114 hours per week
6.30 – 23.00 (ie. one hour more per day)
6.30 – 23.00 (ie. five and a half hours more per day)
8.00 – 23.00 (ie. four hours more per day)
The BRAAD (Bromley Residents Against Airport Development) website says:
The Airport propose a massive 114 hour week.
They want to stay open until 11pm every day, including Saturdays and Sundays while every other competing airport in the South East (City, Northolt and Farnborough) stops much earlier.
WE WOULD HAVE OTHER AIRPORTS’ AIR TRAFFIC OVER US DURING THE MOST UNSOCIAL HOURS (SEE BELOW)
(AS REQUESTED): 114 hours per week
6.30 – 23.00 Mon-Fri
6.30 – 23.00 Sat
8.00 – 23.00 Sun
NORTHOLT AIRPORT: 72 hours per week
8.00 – 20.00 Mon-Fri
8.00 – 14.00 Sat
12.00 – 18.00 Sun
LONDON CITY AIRPORT: 93 hours per week
6.30 – 22.00 Mon-Fri
6.30 – 12.30 Sat
12.30 – 22.00 Sun
FARNBOROUGH: 99 hours per week
7.00- 22.00 Mon-Fri
8.00 -20.00 Sat
8.00 -20.00 Sun
Biggin Hill used to be a friendly airport, used mainly by hobby aircraft and private flying. The flight paths have remained unchanged since the 1960s (see link http://www.bigginhillairport.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/BHA-Flight-Routes.pdf ).
Until recently, the residents and the Airport have co-existed relatively amicably but that may no longer be so.
The current airport operator, Biggin Hill Airport Limited (BHAL), has pursued a fast expansion plan, which does not sit comfortably with the location of the airport, for several reasons:
– the historic flight paths overfly large residential areas, in a borough that professes to put the amenitiess of the residents at the core of its policies.
– Against this context, the increasing size of aeroplanes has become more and more unwelcome. The business jets that the Airport increasingly operates are built on the bodies of aircraft such as the Boeing 737, the Airbus 319 and the Bombardier Global Express, amongst others – you can see the images on the Home page of the BRAAD website.
– The air and noise pollution created by landings and take-offs by large aeroplanes has become unacceptably unhealthy for the residents in the vicinity … and continues to increase
– This is a small private airport, that has enjoyed grants and subsidies from Bromley Council. Our money has subsidised a private enterprise of modest relevance in terms of local employment for our borough and increasingly disruptive of our environment. This must stop.
Please join us in asking the Council to protect our residential borough from further development of a commercial airport.
VOTE NO AND NO on the online consultation