This represents the second major victory for those of us who are the overflown residents of Catford, Forest Hill and Sydenham affected by low-level flights from both airports.
ThorNogson publicly thanks MPs Ellie Reeves and Janet Daby, several local Councillors, Leo Gibbons and Sophie McGeevor. To that list can be added Len Duvall, Cllr Alan Hall and Cllr Brenda Dacres who in their co-Cabinet Members for Environment and Transport role along with Sophie wrote directly to London City Airport. As a result of member engagement LB Lewisham ensured officers prepared and submitted formal responses.
ThorNogson working with FHSoc has also built a substantive network of links to other civic amenity societies and campaign groups which have proven invaluable to building support and a unified voice for the campaigns.
ThorNogson has expended signifiant and substantial efforts in the study of much information and disinformation to assemble a clear and accurate picture which has assisted many people to come to a clear understanding of the different circumstances for both airports. And most importantly what the impact will be on overflown residents.ThorNogson on another forum wrote: this morning it feels like the efforts of local community groups and the Forest Hill Society have been worthwhile. At yesterday’s meeting of their Consultative Committee London City Airport backed down and withdrew their proposal to end the weekend flight ban and to extend their operations at the beginning and end of the day. Thanks to everyone who wrote, responded, delivered leaflets under the flight path, sent a postcard, spoke to an MP.
Thanks are also due to local MPs Ellie Reeves and Janet Daby, plus several local Councillors including Leo Gibbons and Sophie McGeevor who all totally understood and supported our argument and have ensured that Lewisham residents have been properly represented.
We’ll never know what swung it, but we campaigners are declaring victory, they don’t come frequently. I am convinced that the public campaign including mass postcard campaign from HACAN , our XR demo last month at the London offices of the airport’s owners, the mass anti expansion campaign at Bristol (same owners) , plus our behind the scenes lobbying at the GLA, with Sadiq Khan’s advisors, with AM’s plus with quite a few MPs, and many Councils influenced a wave of anti expansion responses to their consultation from individuals, Borough Councils and MPs. We also lobbied the executives from their owning Canadian investors. And their planning authority, Newham. I don’t think they are ready to apply for expansion planning permission to Newham now. Looks a bit toxic publicly after the Heathrow supreme court and Bristol council decisions, even if they are appealed.
Obviously the air industry is in disarray right now- so, having flown their expansion kite, its not a bad time for them to put expansion plans on a shelf for a while, whilst appearing to have listened to feedback.
For the first time yesterday I thought the CEO appeared as though he understands what the London opposition is about. (He’s under enormous pressure to deliver value to the overseas shareholders who paid £2billion for the Airport). Instead, I picked up yesterday that they plan to differentiate themselves by becoming the leading world airport on use of green (hmm…) fuel and electric/hybrid planes. New strategy. They will publish their new Masterplan by end of the month.
Next week we will press on with the launch to MPs in Westminster of an independent economic report that will closely examine the economic claims that City made in their draft plan.
Where it leaves us is where we were when City launched the expansive draft plan last summer. That is with noisy overlapping flight paths over SE London with Heathrow, and still City have permission to increase flight movements over the present day level within existing planning permissions. The line that we took last year is still a good one - that no expansion should be even considered until such time as the overlapping flight paths over London have been satisfactorily sorted out.
So with the immediate threat of new Heathrow and City expansion at least delayed for a couple of years, local focus moves to ensuring that the Airspace Modernisation (= sort out the flight paths) project, delivery due 2025/26 involves close cooperation between the two airports, with a view to improving the double/simultaneous overflights of SE London, and increasing the altitude of planes from both before their final approaches. The Forest Hill Society is engaged with periodic stakeholder workshops at both airports pushing them to work together and not lose focus on SE London as they push their two projects along.
Both airports are running two streams of consultation. Both are drafting Master Plans for proposed expansions of their volumes of business and their airport sites. Both are engaged in separate CAA led proposals for Airspace Redesign (Our Future Skies).
These most recent announcements impact directly on the expansion plans and for the moment are extremely important although it remains to be seen what stances the indivdual airports will take in the immediate future.
On the airspace redesign issues for both airports, there is still a long campaign ahead. These proposals will take some five years to consult, agree, design and implement. We are clear in our objectives. For overflown residents we need longer and more frequent respite periods in which no aircraft overfly the same properties constantly, achieved by improved dispersal of flight paths: low level flights need to be ended - aircraft must fly higher for longer on continuous descent flight paths as they approach both airports: and finally the double over-flight issue where aircraft destined for both airports cross-over in the airspace above us here locally must cease.
The hard work continues !