A leading anti-aviation campaigner says residents in Leyton and Leytonstone have been “misled” over an airport’s controversial expansion plan.
The owners of London City Airport, in neighbouring borough Newham, claim there will be an extra “three or four” flights over Waltham Forest during peak hours if expansion goes ahead. But a leading anti-aviation campaigner told the Echo this was likely underestimated.
London City Airport recently began a major public relations campaign to reassure people living under its flightpaths in Waltham Forest that they wouldn’t be adversely affected by tens of thousands of extra flights per year.
The ‘Waltham Forest Community Pledge’ was posted to nearly 27,000 households in April, but the leaflet failed to specify how many extra flights there would be in the area. Instead it listed five pledges; to provide more local jobs, support education, invest in community initiatives, operate quieter aircraft, and boost local businesses.
In response to a question from the Echo following the pledge’s publication, a London City Airport spokesman said: “[Expansion] will provide new airfield infrastructure and extended passenger facilities, allowing more of the next generation of quieter, more fuel-efficient aircraft, to operate at the airport.
“In the peak hour it is estimated additional movements for a resident under the take-off or landing flightpaths would be three or four. For some hours, however, there would be no increase. The airport’s operating hours will remain the same.”
John Stewart, an anti-aviation campaigner and chairman of protest group HACAN East, cast doubt over the claims. He said: “The fact is more than 25,000 extra planes a year would be using the airport if expansion goes ahead. Can London City Airport really guarantee the only difference would be a small number of extra planes in the rush hour? Residents have been misled in the past. They will be suspicious of such claims.”
A public inquiry was held earlier this year to examine London City Airport’s £200million expansion proposals, which include new aircraft parking stands, parallel taxiway, and terminal building extension. It would allow annual flight numbers to increase from about 85,000 currently, to 111,000 after expansion – an average of 71 extra flights per day.
The inquiry, held by a government-appointed planning inspector, came after the airport appealed against former London mayor Boris Johnson’s rejection of planning permission. The Department for Transport could publish its decision, based on the planning inspector’s report, as soon as this month.
For more information about London City Airport’s community pledge: