By Paul Bentley
The growing concern about noise levels follows last month’s announcement that the airport will almost double in size. The airport have yet to confirm when this work will be completed, in what campaigners say is a “tactical move”.
According to minutes from the most recent London City Airport Consultative Committee (LCACC) meeting, London City Airport (LCA) have received 43 complaints since September relating to environmental matters and 34 referring to aircraft noise – compared to only nine complaints in the previous quarter. In the same period last year only seven complaints of this nature were registered.
The airport was granted permission by Newham Council on October 8 to increase from 80,000 to 120,000 flight movements per annum. This will allow the airport to handle 3.9 million passengers per year – up from the current 2.5 million.
The expansion has been contested by Fight the Flights, a group that plans to launch a High Court challenge against the decision to expand.
Anne Marie Griffin, chairperson of the organisation, said the rise in complaints is due to a heightened awareness of aircraft noise as a result of news of the airport’s planned expansion.
“Residents weren’t happy about noise levels before but they put up with it. But when people heard about the application to double in size those concerns became serious. People are noticing the increase.”
Residents have expressed concern on online forums. A commenter on Mayorwatch, a London news and comment site, called ‘TawkinSenz’ wrote: “When will this country learn? The drive to make money outweighs every social aspect of our lives. Why should City airport care about residents when there is money to be made?”
A noisy and bumpy landing at London City Airport
Stuart Innes, secretary of the LCACC, admitted the complaints reflect the growth in air-traffic and use of larger aircraft at the airport. But he also blamed Heathrow-bound flights for many of the complaints. One of Heathrow’s four landing delay loops – known in the industry as Biggin – is over south east London.
Rob Grafton, Environment and Planning Manager at the airport, said a rise of complaints from residents in south London reflected a prolonged period of use of the south-facing Runway ten for landings and takeoffs due to unusual weather conditions.
But Gary Hodgetts, Head of Operational Standards at LCA, was less concessionary. “There are always more complaints in the summer when doors and windows are open,” he said.