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Airport needs to go out to consultation again

City Airport is finding itself under increasing pressure to re-consult the public about controversial plans to change flight paths over the borough. Waltham Forest Council has been at the forefront of the calls for better levels of engagement with those affected by the proposed changes.


Everyone from London Assembly Members to local MP John Cryer and even the Mayor of London himself have been expressing concern about the handling of the consultation that some have suggested would create a ‘noise ghetto’.


Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, has expressed his concerns on behalf of the Council in repeated correspondence with the airport.


“I have to say that I have been disappointed by the manner in which the consultation was carried out. There are still a lot of local people who remain unaware of the proposals or the impact they could have on their quality of life.


“I petitioned City Airport to hold a public meeting in the borough after it emerged that they were simply planning on relying on one carried out in Redbridge to account for our residents’ views.   


“It wasn’t until very late on in the consultation period that they finally agreed to come to the borough and hold a public meeting. But this was not the Council meeting that I had called for and was so belated and hastily arranged that many local residents couldn’t attend and those that did then had just a few days to get their responses in.”


The consultation period ended on 27 November, but there are calls for it to be run again – not least from the Council, but also from local MP John Cryer, who described the changes as ‘unwanted’. Mr Cryer entered an Early Day Motion in Parliament last week asking that the House notes, ‘the lamentable lack of engagement with elected representatives and residents' groups’.


“I called for the consultation to be extended, but unfortunately City Airport weren’t prepared to take that advice,” said Cllr Loakes. “I think this is too important an issue to progress without a really concerted effort to engage with the people impacted, and I think that means re-consulting local residents.”


The proposed changes will not in themselves see an increase in the level of air traffic, but there may be an increase in the concentration of flights over some areas.


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