Campaign against airport expansion

A demonstration against London City Airport outside Leytonstone Underground Station
A demonstration against London City Airport held outside Leytonstone Underground Station last month

Meera Chadha urges Waltham Forest residents to oppose London City Airport expansion

Many Waltham Forest residents know the frustration of hearing planes from London City Airport flying overhead between 6.30am and 10.30pm daily.

Figures from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reveal that noise pollution from the airport affects 74,000 people – an amount exceeded only by Heathrow and Manchester airports.

For those living under the flight path, not only does it cause stress and affect health, it adds to London’s already polluted skies. Studies have shown that levels of noise exposure from flights have been linked to a two-month delay in the development of primary school children.

Currently there are limits on the number of flights in the first and last half-hour of operations each day, and there are no flights from midday Saturday to midday Sunday. These limitations give respite to residents – but the airport wants to lift those restrictions.

By their own admission, the expansion would not only double the number of flights but also require eight new aircraft stands and quadruple the size of the terminal. At a time when we should be reducing our carbon footprint and curbing air travel, this will encourage more flights and more emissions.

At the airport consultative committee in December, the owners claimed they had 1,800 responses which were roughly 50% in support. However, when challenged by John Stewart, chair of Hacan East, a campaign representing residents living under the flight path, they admitted this did not include the postcards the group had developed for residents to respond to the consultation. Hacan East estimates around 4,000 ‘Back the Ban’ cards were sent in objection to the plans. When you include the postcards, the airport has received an estimated 5,800 responses with 85% of those objecting to the plans in one way or another.

I joined campaigners from Hacan East last month to raise awareness before the master plan is launched and ensure the airport acknowledges the groundswell of support against the expansion. The airport must recognise that Waltham Forest residents do not want more flights, noise and pollution over their homes.

The airport will make much of how the plans can bring jobs and help the local economy. However, we should be rightfully concerned that any expansion is likely to affect our health and wellbeing, and that of our families, not to mention the survival of the planet in a time of climate crisis.

London City Airport is due to publish its final master plan at the start of this month. If it takes its proposals forward, it will then submit a detailed planning application to Newham Council, the local planning authority. Please help us oppose it.

Find out more about Hacan East and get involved with the campaign:
Visit hacaneast.org.uk