Posts Tagged ‘newham council’
As Adam reports on The Scoop, the London Cable Car scheme from Greenwich to the Royal Docks has been halted because of safety concerns. It’s a startling development, considering Transport for London was confident the proposal was safe, despite passing through the crash zone of London City Airport.
The hold-up is down to the tenacity of Poplar-based campaigner Alan Haughton and Friends of the Earth‘s Jenny Bates, who have monitored the proposal since it was announced last summer. They claim government safety guidance on such “public safety zones” has been ignored. To put their objections in context, FoE has also backed campaigners who want to stop the airport’s expansion – and Haughton has harried Newham Council on its handling of this, along with the Thamesmead based Fight The Flights group.
I met them at the Greenwich Council planning hearing last month, but our chat was interrupted by a furious Richard De Cani – Transport for London’s strategy director – challenging their claims, even though de Cani had already done his job by winning planning permission, assuring councillors that neither the Civil Aviation Authority nor London City Airport had objected to the scheme.
But Haughton and Bates didn’t give up, and after Greenwich followed Newham and the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (which is responsible for part of the land in Silvertown) in backing the scheme, they badgered the media with their case – resulting in today’s embarrassing news for City Hall. Now National Air Traffic Services will review the situation and report back to TfL.
Haughton said: “Boris Johnson’s desire to see a Cable Car across the Thames for 2012 is an Olympic sized mess. The planning application has ignored key safety guidelines and objections. Newham Council supported the London City Airport expansion and were fully aware of the increased Public Safety Zone. Newham Council want two bites of the same cherry regardless of the potential human cost.”
TfL is confident the scheme will go ahead and in time for the Olympics – but with a timetable that was already looking extremely tight, that’s now got to be in serious doubt.
While well-heeled Greenwich town centre dwellers will be cursing the Greenwich Market ruling, riverside residents at the other end of the borough have also had bad news today – the challenge against Newham Council’s decision to back the expansion of London City Airport has failed.
The case had been brought by Thamesmead-based campaign group Fight The Flights, whose chairwoman Anne-Marie Griffin now has 14 days to decide whether or not she wants to mount a further appeal. FTF claimed Newham had not taken into account new government guidelines on aviation, and had not consulted neighbouring boroughs – in this case Waltham Forest and Redbridge – properly on the issue.
The airport hailed the ruling as “great news for London City Airport and Newham” – presumably everyone else can get stuffed, then.
If you live by the river and think this won’t affect you – think again. The number of flights using LCY could rise from 80,000 per year to 120,000. You can already hear the roars from take-offs and landings from Blackheath.
On this side of the Thames, Greenwich Council has said it wants much more residential development on the riverside in future (a topic I’ll return to on this blog soon) – so anyone by the Thames in Charlton or Woolwich will have to endure a pretty noisy life thanks to their neighbour across the water.
Greenwich itself has a pretty murky history with LCY – failing to attend meetings with airport management and then endorsing expansion, despite the roar of jets over West Thamesmead.
London Assembly Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon says Greenwich Council has a few awkward questions to answer. “Many people in east and south east London are already facing serious problems with noise and disturbance from air flights. Today’s decision provides the green light to increased misery for many more Londoners. I remain convinced that greater scrutiny should have been given to the initial planning decision by Newham Council.
“Questions also remain as to why Greenwich Council never objected to the planning decision despite the serious impact that the airport is already having on so many of its residents. Most significantly this decision sends out the message that the economic benefits of aviation are still being exaggerated while its environmental harm is largely overlooked.”
London City Airport sees the launch of a direct executive service to New York on Tuesday, which will no doubt delight many of its neighbours in some of London’s poorest districts, both north and south of the Thames. Don’t believe me? You ask the Telegraph’s Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker, who penned this admiring piece on the Silvertown airport’s expansion plans:
The fact that there are no vocal lobby groups campaigning against the expansion of London City is partly thanks to a policy of recruiting in the area. More than 70pc of the airport’s 2,000 staff live less than five miles away, and the site is the biggest private sector employer in the borough of Newham. (more)
I wonder what Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker will make of this, then?
Newham council is being taken to court today [28 September 2009] by local residents over its decision to allow a 50 per cent increase in flights at London City Airport without considering changes to Government policy on climate change or consulting local people.
Fight The Flights, a community group represented by lawyers at Friends of the Earth‘s Rights & Justice Centre, says that before approving the airport’s expansion in July this year, the council should have considered the Government’s intention to reduce aviation emissions to below 2005 levels by 2050 – part of its effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Climate Change Act.
Fight The Flights said Newham council had also failed to consult neighbouring boroughs such as Waltham Forest, even though they will be significantly affected as a result of changes to flight paths since July.
Fight The Flights’ Anne-Marie Griffin said: “Increasing flights at London City Airport is completely wrong – it will bump up carbon emissions and add to the misery of local people who are already suffering from poor air quality and noise disturbance. There are much better ways to bring jobs to this area.
“We appeal to members of the public who care about the environment and about our community to help us fight this decision by donating to help fund our legal challenge.” (more)
No vocal lobby groups? Really? Fight the Flights, based in Thamesmead, is probably the most vocal lobby group I’ve ever come across, with a Twitter feed constantly pumping out arguments against expanding the airport, whose flightpath runs right across the blighted developments of west Thamesmead.
Newham Council will be in for a very hard fight – and this won’t be good news for City Airport fan Boris Johnson, either. This story will be one to watch. Especially if you work for the Telegraph…