Campaigners have hit out at plans to expand London City Airport and allow more flights on Saturdays.
The airport, in the Royal Docks, has launched a public consultation on its proposals, which include scrapping a ban on flights after 1pm on Saturdays and allowing more flights early in the morning. Bosses want to increase the number of passengers from 6.5 million to 9 million a year.
Flights would be permitted as late as 10pm on Saturdays while the number of flights allowed in the half hour before 7am could be doubled.
Take-offs and landings can be heard across the north of the borough of Greenwich while areas such as Eltham and Catford are on its flightpath.
John Stewart, chair of the campaign group Hacan East, said: “Ever since London City opened residents have had a break from the noise between midday Saturday and midday Sunday. There will be anger that the only break now will be for a few hours on Sunday morning.”
The plans have long been opposed by members of the London Green Party, with the former mayoral candidate Sian Berry having pledged to close the airport in her election manifesto.
Green London Assembly member Zack Polanski said it was “an absolute disgrace” to expand flying during a climate emergency, and that it makes “no economic sense”.
He added: “It looks like City Airport is rowing back on its commitment to preserve Saturday afternoons and evenings as a respite from flights.
“Overflown communities must be protected from the health harm of flight noise and disruption. Airports have the technology to design flight paths to protect respite periods from overflying and people are rightly anxious that noise and disruption may start to impact the few times each week that they have protection.”
He added that “protecting the health and wellbeing of Londoners should be a priority” and that expanding the airport was “a huge step backwards”.
London City chief executive Robert Sinclair said: “London City Airport plays an incredibly important role in quickly and easily connecting London to the rest of the UK and the world for both business and leisure travel.
“The strength of our rebound demonstrates the huge pent-up demand for air travel and the need to plan responsibly for the future.”
Similar plans were put forward in 2019 but were shelved following the pandemic. At the time, Greenwich Council said it was “concerned” about the proposals while Lewisham Council expressed outright opposition. Sadiq Khan also said he could not support the plans.
Residents have until September 9 to respond to the public consultation at consultation.londoncityairport.com.
Additional reporting by Darryl Chamberlain
Joe Talora is the Local Democracy Reporter for the Greater London Authority, based at the Evening Standard. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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