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London City Airport expansion plan approved for take-off

PUBLISHED: 07:28 08 August 2016 | UPDATED: 14:34 08 August 2016

London City Airport CGI

London City Airport CGI

Archant

Campaigners say the green light for a £344m expansion programme at London City Airport will see smaller communities hit the hardest.

Last week, ministers gave the go-ahead for plans which are expected to see a dramatic increase in flights over the borough.

The expansion will increase the number of take-offs and landings at the airport from 70,000 a year to 111,000.

It’s estimated this will almost double the number of passengers travelling through the transport hub to six million a year by 2023.

John Stewart, chairman of Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (Hacan East), said he is disappointed by the approval. Mr Stewart says the government’s decision to expand is a “double whammy” to residents in smaller, outer areas of the capital after last year’s announcement of new concentrated flight paths.

The Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) decision has given the go-ahead to create a much narrower and concentrated flight corridor over Collier Row and Wanstead, with planes flying over every three minutes.

Mr Stewart said: “It’s only going to make things worse for residents in these smaller communities.

“Planes can be flying below 4,000ft as they have to stay under Heathrow aircraft and most people in the air industry would agree there would be a heightened level of noise disruption.”

The campaigner also believes the expansion will bring an influx of larger aircraft.

Mr Stewart said: “The airport will never reach its cap of 111,000 if they do not build these larger planes to fly in and out of the airport.

“The government want to reach more distant places like Moscow and Istanbul so larger planes will need to be built for these flights.

“We are told that these larger planes will be quieter but the jury is still out on that one.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond said the investment would boost international connections and prove “Britain is open for business”.

London City Airport bosses estimate the scheme, which includes an extended terminal, a new aircraft taxiway and upgraded public transport links, will create 1,600 jobs, together with 500 construction jobs.

But despite the possible economic benefits the project will bring about, campaigners believe the environment will suffer as a consequence.

Havering Friends of the Earth has spent the past few years campaigning against any expansion.

Co-ordinator of the borough’s largest environmental group Ian Pirie, said members feel “very aggrieved” by last week’s decision.

He said: “As a group, we are very disappointed and angry about it.

“We have recently been campaigning about air pollution and this decision by the government and Mayor of London is only going to make things worse.

“We know a number of people in the local area were already annoyed by the change in flight paths.

“While the new flight paths mean less people will be affected, the people who are have been affected more seriously.”

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