Court ruling means more flights for City Airport

While well-heeled Greenwich town centre dwellers will be cursing the Greenwich Market ruling, riverside residents at the other end of the borough have also had bad news today – the challenge against Newham Council’s decision to back the expansion of London City Airport has failed.

The case had been brought by Thamesmead-based campaign group Fight The Flights, whose chairwoman Anne-Marie Griffin now has 14 days to decide whether or not she wants to mount a further appeal. FTF claimed Newham had not taken into account new government guidelines on aviation, and had not consulted neighbouring boroughs – in this case Waltham Forest and Redbridge – properly on the issue.

The airport hailed the ruling as “great news for London City Airport and Newham” – presumably everyone else can get stuffed, then.

If you live by the river and think this won’t affect you – think again. The number of flights using LCY could rise from 80,000 per year to 120,000. You can already hear the roars from take-offs and landings from Blackheath.

On this side of the Thames, Greenwich Council has said it wants much more residential development on the riverside in future (a topic I’ll return to on this blog soon) – so anyone by the Thames in Charlton or Woolwich will have to endure a pretty noisy life thanks to their neighbour across the water.

Greenwich itself has a pretty murky history with LCY – failing to attend meetings with airport management and then endorsing expansion, despite the roar of jets over West Thamesmead.

London Assembly Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon says Greenwich Council has a few awkward questions to answer. “Many people in east and south east London are already facing serious problems with noise and disturbance from air flights. Today’s decision provides the green light to increased misery for many more Londoners. I remain convinced that greater scrutiny should have been given to the initial planning decision by Newham Council.

“Questions also remain as to why Greenwich Council never objected to the planning decision despite the serious impact that the airport is already having on so many of its residents. Most significantly this decision sends out the message that the economic benefits of aviation are still being exaggerated while its environmental harm is largely overlooked.”


  1. I can’t even hear the roar of take-offs and landings from where I live on the river, I highly doubt that you can hear them from Blackheath! Maybe it’s the plans flying overhead, or the 747s or Airbus 380s on the flightpath to Heathrow. I do hear the flights sometimes overhead (when I make an effort to look out for them) but it’s not intrusive. Remember, there is a 24 hour no flight period from Saturday lunchtime to Sunday lunchtime. Not sure if that will be repealed to increase capacity. Even if that’s the case, I think the impact will be limited.

    Also, the planes are small jets or propellers because of the short runway, I doubt that an increase will cause much more noise pollution. Based on that, I completely disagree with the Lib Dem rep on her position. Increased misery? What misery?

  2. I do love the I’m alright jack parade that think they are better informed than those who have to live with the affects.
    I live by the river in Greenwich and have recorded over 90db noise levels from London City Airport Jets. Thats louder than a jack hammer. Some of my neighbours are even been told they need new mechanical noise vents to try help them live with the increasing noise. They will become prisoners in their own homes.

    This new bread of IIMBY (Isn’t in my back yard) should get the facts before just making up what they think the believe is right.

  3. Surely only airport staff or individuals with a vested/ financial interest in the airport could possibly say they live on or near the riverside in SE28/SE18 and don’t hear the planes! This is utter nonsense. Even the Woolwich Arsenal Berkeley Homes Development is suffering from increasing noise levels as the issue has spread far and wide. Or does D’Olivier live on the River Avon or elsewhere?

    The airport produces noise maps which actually indicate a huge amount of housing is covered by the ‘noise contour’ in the area and some are even having their windows sealed up and automatic ventilation installed by the airport in an effort to try and reduce the excessive noise levels that are experienced within homes, let alone outside. I’m sure those residents can look forward to a very hot summer in their homes, as they won’t be offered air con to make up for permanently sealed windows, and will still be able to hear jets of up to 80db.

    Small jets compared to what? A 737? City fly out 120 seaters now,slightly bigger than the business jets that seated about 6 which the airport was originally designed for! Local residents were also promised it would remain that way and jets would never be used!

    It would be refreshing for those individuals who claim not to be affected to be more sympathetic and understanding towards those many residents who are. But of course if you can’t hear a roaring jet, your are unlikely to be listening to your neighbours either.

  4. Whereabouts in Greenwich are you, George? It’s usually Charlton and eastwards which gets affected as jets taking off have to bank north-westwards (over Leyton Orient’s ground) pretty quickly.

    As mentioned in the post, this will be a problem for many more people than it is now. Maybe even those in the Greenwich Millennium Village, which is where I believe D’Olivier lives, judging by his other comments here (he’s welcome to correct me if I’m wrong).

  5. Hi Darryl

    I live in West Thamesmead Greenwich right underneath the take off path. When I moved in 5 years ago I asked about the airport and it’s plans and was informed there were no plans and only small jets and props could use it. As you can see I was badly misinformed or just lied to. I can’t believe they want to build more here…

  6. Ah – not Greenwich, then. D’Oliver lives in Greenwich, where the noise isn’t so great. I share your bafflement over the development plans for West Thamesmead too…

  7. Interesting you say not Greenwich. I live in the borough of Greenwich. It might be the most east part of LB Greenwich and probably the poorest part but Greenwich council manage this area. I also live right on the river. I see it when I wake to when I sleep. The planes from London City Airport are affecting this area badly as it stands now. But with the 120,000 they are now allowed this is going to get more unbearable. Imagine the air quality and the noise levels that are going to be placed here…. The thing is we are human too and have feeling thoughts and breath the same are as the people in Greenwich also under the management of LB Greenwich. Greenwich Council have no idea and do not care 1 bit about this as this area is just a handy place to get some easy council tax….

  8. I appreciate what you’re saying, but Thamesmead and Greenwich are very different places with very different concerns; those who don’t understand that won’t understand the wider area.

    That said, City Airport has the potential to affect both (it certainly affects Charlton) with the expansion.

  9. @Darryl – yes, you’ve got my location spot on. I was reacting to 1)the Blackheath comment and 2) Carole Pidgeon’s comment (which, when I view this with other comments she made about transport in the past, makes me wonder about her).

    Obviously, you are going to get more noise when you live closer to an airport, but my sympathies lie more with those people already living in the area before the Airport was built (and have to deal with the noise) rather than people choosing to live in the area after it’s been built. I don’t know know what the split is between the two, but anyone moving into the Woolwich Arsenal development, for example, should already have known what they were living next to, anyway.

  10. A lot of those in West Thamesmead are pretty short of choice of places to live, frankly.

    I’ve heard the “booms” from landings from Blackheath with my own ears.

  11. DOlivier
    I understand your view while I disagree with it. Just because something’s there whatever it is doesn’t mean you expect it to grow like a tumorous cancer. We try to get rid of that as it can kill. Similar things can be said about this airport due to its placement. It needs to stay small as it was supposed too. Not out grow and damage it’s environment.
    People really do need to open there eyes and stop walking blindly being lead by PR…

  12. I live on the flight path and don’t mind. I quite like the sound of planes taking off and landing. I have always lived on flight paths (Southampton, Jersey) and in the latter appreciate aviation to the local community.

    I love walking in the door 21 mins after touchdown with hold luggage when flying into LCY. Your luggage wouldn’t even be on the belt at LHR or LGW.

    I also love leaving home 50-60 mins before departure avoiding a long slog to Heathrow and checking in for far flung destinations so close to departure.

    I am sure all the people opposed to the expansion have never ever flown from ANY airport over ANYBODYS house have they ?

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