Many of you have been in touch since I sent out my email (which is below) about the complexity of the forms on the consultation website.
My team and I have looked over the consultation as well as speaking to HACANEast (who along with local Councillors have been a key ally in our campaign with City Airport).
I have a series of suggested points you might like to raise in your responses to the consultation. They are not exhaustive, and you may wish to raise others and your own experiences of noise what it means for your sleep patterns and health. Noise is a big contributory factor to things such as high blood pressure and stroke. Recently links have also been looked at between noise factors and dementia. You might also mention the effect upon the enjoyment of your home and air pollution from flights over the local area.
There is no need to fill in the online consultation. Better to send your own email to email@example.com or write to
Freepost UK AIRSPACE POLICY CONSULTATION.
This is an important consultation document because it is making useful proposals that would ensure that the way residents were treated when London City concentrated its flight paths will not be repeated.
Modernizing Airspace: the procedures to be followed
The introduction of brand-new flight paths
Many residents in the area are the victims of the inadequate procedures that were in place when London City introduced its concentrated flight paths last year. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has improved its procedures since then. But, even under its new procedures, there is no appeal for residents if they do not like the new flights. So you could say you agree with the proposal for the Secretary of State for Transport to be able to ‘call-in’ a flight path decision to look at it again. But the consultation document suggests that call-in function should just apply to the bigger airports. You might want to stress it is essential it applies to smaller airport like London City as well.
Chapter 4 also goes into proposed changes on Compensation
These not only include infrastructure, (such a runways) but also overflights!
Change the policy wording to remove the word ‘development’ in terms of when financial assistance towards insulation is expected so that compensation is applicable regardless of the type of change (infrastructure or airspace change);
Change the policy wording to allow for financial assistance towards insulation in the 63dB LAeq level or above to be applicable regardless of the level of change that causes a property to be in that noise contour level (i.e. remove requirement for a minimum 3dB change);
Inclusion of additional wording in the policy to encourage an airspace change promoter to consider compensation for significantly increased overflight as a result of the change based on appropriate metrics, which could be decided upon according to the local circumstances and economics of the change proposal; and
Include a requirement of an offer of full insulation to be paid for by the airport for homes within the 69dB LAeq or more contour, where the home owners do not want to move
They could always go further, you could however respond and welcome these proposed changes to financial compensation.
Making Transparent Airspace Change Decisions
Respite, Concentration, Dispersal
Over the last decade noise from City Airport has caused problems but they were mainly limited to areas up to about 4-5 miles from the airport. That all changed with the introduction of the concentrated flight paths when complaints started to come in from places 10 miles from the airport.
You might want to welcome the importance put on respite in the consultation document. You might want to suggest that City Airport is required to look at its concentrated routes again and see how it can offer some respite from the noise.
Metrics are how aircraft noise is measured. The consultation is proposing improved metrics. At the moment the Government only recognizes noise as being a serious problem to people very close to the airport. This because it says that only when noise averages out over the year at 57 decibels is it a problem for people.
The consultation is proposing to lower that limit to 51 decibels which is much better. It still doesn’t cover everybody impacted by the noise but it is a big improvement.
Stipulating the 57dB LAeq contour as ‘the onset of community annoyance’ has caused deep-seated problems at London City Airport.
The Independent Noise Authority (ICCAN)
In East London in particular there is a deep sense amongst many residents and local authorities of being treated unfairly by London City Airport over many years. Residents would have welcomed an Independent Noise Authority to ensure fair play between them, the airport and Newham Council (the Planning Authority) as I imagine would residents further away in Waltham Forest and Redbridge.
It is important that the Independent Noise Authority (ICCAN) that the consultation document proposes setting up is truly independent, has an Ombudsman-type role where it can investigate concerns of local communities and that it has enough “teeth” to ensure its recommendations stick.
WHERE DO I FIND THE CONSULATION? HOW DO I REPLY TO THE CONSULTATION?
There is no need to fill in the online consultation. Better to send your own email to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Freepost UK AIRSPACE POLICY CONSULTATION.
You can answer online. However as I said at the beginning of this email and above. You could always email or write to them and make some of the points above, as well as sharing with them your experiences/concerns of living below the London City Airport and Heathrow flightpaths.
The deadline for the close of the consultation is 25th May.
If some of these proposals are taken up – such as compensation, I shall be looking to raise this with Ministers as to whether any residents of Leyton and Wanstead could be recipients.
John Cryer MP