On 3 October, Wanstead residents will get the chance to quiz London City Airport representatives about their expansion proposals. John Stewart of campaign group HACAN East reports.
London City Airport has extended the consultation on its expansion proposals in its draft Master Plan to 18 October. The airport wants to almost double flight numbers from today’s levels, end the 24-hour weekend break and bring in more planes in the early morning and late evening.
The proposals have proved highly controversial. The Mayor of Newham called the draft Master Plan “fundamentally flawed”. Other local authorities have come out against the proposals and local residents from many parts of London have been sending in objections. Climate change activists have also raised big concerns.
London City Airport does seem to have miscalculated just how much opposition its proposals would generate. When the consultation ends, it will look at the responses and publish a final Master Plan towards the end of this year. If it does decide to take any of the proposals forward, the airport will need to draw up a detailed planning application to Newham Council, the planning authority for the airport. It will be required to consult on its proposals before submitting the application. It means the earliest any application is likely to be considered will be the middle of next year.
London City Airport has also been asked to look again at its flight paths. It narrowed and concentrated all its flight paths in 2016, resulting in a five-fold increase in complaints to the airport. Parts of Wanstead are directly under these flight paths. The flight paths will be reconsidered whether or not expansion takes place. It is part of wider airspace changes taking place at all airports in London and the South East as air traffic controllers move to a satellite system to guide planes.
London City Airport expects to consult on options for altered flight paths in 2021. Almost certainly, one of the options it will put forward will be for flight paths to be rotated during the day to give communities a break from the noise. This would tie in with Heathrow’s commitment when it introduces its new flight paths to give all communities a break from the noise each day. These flight path changes bring some hope for people in Wanstead but they are unlikely to be introduced until about 2024. The reason for the delay is that changing flight paths at all airports in London and the South East is a complex task as the airspace is among the busiest in the world.
In the immediate term, though, the concern is London City’s proposals for expansion. You can find more details about these, plus some handy hints on making a response, on our website.