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Flight paths get the go ahead despite local opposition

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced that London City Airport will be given permission to use new technology that will create a much narrower flight corridor over the south of the borough, subjecting residents to planes flying over as often as every three minutes.

The news comes in spite of an outcry by Waltham Forest Council, concerned local residents and interest groups during a badly handled consultation exercise that was heavily criticised by everyone from London Assembly Members to the local MP John Cryer and even the Mayor of London.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, said at the time, “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.”  

While a hastily arranged meeting was eventually held in the borough at short notice, it was very late on in the consultation period, was not the Council meeting called for and many local residents couldn’t attend.

Ultimately only three per cent of the 504 people who submitted a response to the consultation supported the proposal that some have suggested will create a ‘noise ghetto’. However, almost a year to the day after the original consultation ended, the CAA nevertheless gave the go ahead for the change.

The residents of Leytonstone and Leyton are now hoping that the decision can be reversed. HACAN East – a protest group that challenges increasing flight capacity or changing and narrowing flight paths, have already come out saying they are considering legal action to challenge the decision.

Chair John Stewart said, “Many people will be in utter despair of the decision. It means that residents who were hardly overflown at all by planes from London City a few years back face the prospect of living under a concentrated flight path for the rest of their lives. It is a terrible prospect.”

Cllr Loakes added, “It’s a shocking decision by the CAA and one that simply does not have the support of the local community. I think it’s a sad day for democracy when a body largely funded by the aviation industry can ride roughshod over the views of the local council, the local MP and ultimately the local people – who will be the ones to suffer as a result of this arbitrary decision”

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