More London City Airport flights are bad news, Greenwich Council says

London City Airport
Airport bosses want to scrap the Saturday afternoon quiet time

Plans to open London City Airport on Saturday afternoons do not fit in with Greenwich Council’s climate strategy, the town hall has said.

At present, the airport in the Royal Docks – whose planes can be heard across the borough – is not permitted to operate between 12.30pm on Saturdays and 12.30pm on Sundays to give neighbours respite from noise.

But its latest expansion plans, recently submitted to Newham Council, include proposals to extend Saturday flights to 6.30pm. The plans also include 12 Saturday flights between 6.30pm and 7.30pm during the summer months.

Airport bosses say that only the quietest, cleanest aircraft will be used, and that the longer hours will mean they can offer more leisure routes and trips to more distant destinations. But campaigners at Hacan East say the aircraft are only quieter during take-off because they rise at a steeper angle, with less noticeable improvements to noise during the rest of the flight.

Although the airport is not proposing to increase its annual limit of 111,000 flights, it is hoping to increase the annual cap on passengers from 6.5 million to nine million.

Both Labour-run Greenwich Council and its Conservative opposition have raised concerns about the plans, which have been little-publicised south of the Thames.

Take-offs and landings are clearly audible in riverside areas in the north of the borough. The runway is as little as 1,300 metres away from homes in the Woolwich Dockyard estate and the Royal Arsenal as well as west Thamesmead, where planes fly low over the area.

To the south, areas around Eltham are on the flightpath for incoming flights that turn around over central London before landing. Matt Hartley and John Hills, the Conservative councillors for Mottingham, Coldharbour and New Eltham, have already filed an objection, saying that local residents already find the noise from flights “unbearable” and calling City Airport’s plans “entirely unreasonable”.

A Greenwich Council spokesperson told 853: “The current London City Airport plans are at odds with our climate strategy and our desire to reach carbon zero by 2030. We have concerns about the environmental and noise impacts on residents, in particular the loss of respite periods.

“There needs to be further assurances in the current proposals to protect residents.”

Lewisham Council has also come out strongly against the proposals. Flight paths into Heathrow coincide with those into London City over Catford. Its cabinet member for the environment, Louise Krupski, said on social media that the plan “in no way fits with the needs of our residents or our policies on the climate emergency or clean air. It’s quite simple really.”

Newham Council – which has received the application as the airport’s local authority – has also condemned the proposals and called on the government to block the plans.

Comments on the proposals should be sent to Newham Council by Friday.

Story amended to correct the closing date of the consultation and to add Lewisham Council’s line.

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