Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Residents lose airport court battle

A legal challenge against increased flights from London City Airport has been dismissed

Local residents have lost their High Court battle to block an "extremely large" increase in the number of flights proposed for London City Airport.

Two judges rejected accusations that the key decision by Newham Council to permit the increase in the number of take-offs and landings was so legally flawed that it must be quashed.

Members of the Fight the Flights campaign group argued noise pollution levels at the airport are already almost unbearable and the extremely large flight increases would make them intolerable.

They accused Newham Council of "erring in law" by failing to take into account a "fundamental change" in Government policy on aviation policy and climate change. They also said the local authority had erred by failing to consult the neighbouring London boroughs of Waltham Forest and Redbridge, or the residents of those boroughs.

But Lord Justice Pill and Mr Justice Roderick Evans, sitting in London, rejected both accusations and dismissed the legal challenge.

London City released an economic impact assessment showing the alleged benefits of increasing the number of flights to 120,000 a year, pointing out the airport contributed more than £500 million per annum to the economy.

Anne-Marie Griffin, chairwoman of Fight the Flights, who lives at Thamesmead, south-east London, was given 14 days to apply for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the ruling.

Speaking outside the court, Ms Griffin said: "We are desperately disappointed by this judgment.

"London City Airport already causes major disturbance and pollution for people living locally - the disappointment we feel at this outcome will be shared by thousands of residents across East London who are severely affected by London City Airport's operations but were not consulted about expansion.

"Without clear guidelines to local councils on aviation expansion, the emissions targets set have no hope of being met. Fight the Flights is currently taking legal advice as to whether to appeal."