Campaign group HACAN East has written to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to call for the suspension of London City Airport's consultation into flight path changes.
The consultation is over the introduction of Area Navigation (RNAV), which can guide aircraft more accurately during landing and takeoff. It's actually part of a much larger re-organisation of airspace over the south east which is being overseen by the CAA. Basically, the introduction of RNAV has two outcomes — routes into and out of airports can be varied, so less noise for some residents but more for others. The other outcome is that it also gives the airport the option of concentrating all its air traffic on one route, and this is City Airport's preferred option.
The London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP) document says that planes arriving and departing from City Airport will continue to use the same routes as they do at the moment. But once they become RNAV routes, planes will travel consistently closer to the centreline of the route. What this means for residents is that while the overall flight area is smaller, air traffic over the centreline will be more concentrated.
So where are the areas most affected? HACAN East says the areas under the centreline will be Bow, Hackney Wick, Leyton Midland Road, Leytonstone, Barkingside and Colliers Row. The campaign group says that despite the consultation, City Airport has failed to tell the people living in those areas. The group's chairman, John Stewart, has written to the CAA to call for a new consultation and better information for residents:
"The consultation makes it clear that the future flight paths will be concentrated over particular areas yet there is no guarantee in this consultation that the residents who will be impacted will be made aware of this fact and offered the opportunity to respond."
The consultation document is quite clear that it's about how the aircraft approach the airport, not about increases in air traffic (despite mentioning the fact it has permission to increase flights to 120,000 per year). Crucially (for residents anyway), it doesn't spell out the potential noise impact. If you live in one of the areas mentioned above, take a look at City Airport's website explaining the changes.
Photo by O.F.E. in the Londonist Flickr pool.