The Society heard at the Consultative Committee on 5th March that London City Airport has dropped its plans to end the weekend break from the noise and to bring in more early morning & late evening flights. It still may want to seek to lift the current annual cap on flights but not any time soon. It intends to publish its final Master Plan before the end of the month but has no immediate plans to put in a planning application to lift the cap. Whether, and when they do it, will depend on the sort of growth the airport is experiencing.
Thanks are due to local MPs in Forest Hill and Dulwich plus several local Councillors who all totally understood and supported our argument and have ensured that Lewisham, Forest Hill and Dulwich residents have been properly represented.
We’ll never know what swung it. The public campaign must have helped - the mass postcard campaign from Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN), the demo last month at the London offices of the airport’s owners, and the mass anti expansion campaign at Bristol (same owners). Behind the scenes lobbying at the GLA with Sadiq Khan’s advisors, plus assistance from quite a few MPs (and many Councils) influenced a wave of anti expansion responses to the consultation from individuals. Executives from their Canadian investor owners were also lobbied, as was the local planning authority, Newham.
Obviously the air industry is in disarray right now - so, having flown their expansion kite, it's not a bad time for them to put expansion plans on a shelf for a while, whilst appearing to have listened to feedback. We will press on with the upcoming 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 City still having 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 resolved.
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, is properly reviewed. This involves close cooperation between the two airports, with a view to improving the double/simultaneous over flights of SE London, and increasing the altitude of planes from both before their final approaches. The Forest Hill Society supported by the Dulwich 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.