Fight the flights

Aircraft trails
With flights from both London City and Heathrow airports directed over Leyton and Leytonstone, Waltham Forest has become the third most overflown borough in London

Leyton resident Geoffrey McDowall on why London City Airport should not be allowed to expand

In 2012 the long-needed regeneration of Leyton started when money from the Olympic Games was used to regenerate a section of Leyton High Road.

This proved a great success and was rolled out in other areas of the borough by Waltham Forest Council. Young families were attracted to the area, new businesses were opened, tired old pubs were renovated, and neglected houses and front gardens put to rights.

In February 2016 these good times ended, when with little consultation or notice London City Airport concentrated the flight paths for its departures over Leyton. It meant mornings, late afternoons and evenings became dominated by the roaring and whining engines of aircraft climbing and banking over our heads. Conversations outside now developed pauses every two minutes, waiting for planes to pass. In addition to this, flights from Heathrow Airport are now regularly routed over East London. The two streams of aircraft cross over our houses at right angles.

There is no escaping this noise pollution from 4.30am until around midnight. It increases stress and makes it harder to study, work from home or enjoy time in the garden. One of the first things people visiting the area comment on is how noisy Leyton is.

There is at least a brief period of respite, from 12.30pm on Saturdays to 12.30pm on Sundays, when London City Airport flights are not allowed to operate, but this has been spoiled by planes from Heathrow that are not affected by this embargo. For many people the situation is barely tolerable but it seems we have not suffered enough. Both Heathrow and London City airports are currently seeking to expand. This means more planes and more noise.

The airspace over London needs better co-ordination. Flights from different airports shouldn’t be passing each other at altitudes where they can be heard from the ground. Each airport should operate more than one concentrated flightpath so that everyone affected by aircraft noise gets proper respite.

What can we as residents do? Write letters of complaint to both London City and Heathrow airports. Write or email your local MP. Be assured that you are not alone – join our campaign to halt aviation expansion and find out what other local people are doing to fight the scourge of our noisy skies.

For information about HACAN East and its campaign against London City Airport’s expansion: