Permission has recently been granted by Newham Council for a massive expansion of London City Airport, which will see the number of arriving and departing flights increase from 73,000 to 120,000 per year. Whether this can be viewed as good news for the economy or a disaster for the environment depends very much on whom you believe.
A spokesperson from Newham council has proudly boasted of the benefits of the expansion which will include an extra £26 million for the economy, new jobs for local residents, a boost for local tourism and also the possibility of companies investing in the future in the local infrastructure.
According to a council spokesperson, residents’ concerns over noise and disruption have been taken into account in approving the planning application, and he has sought to reassure the local populace that there will be no additions to the early morning schedules and that additions to the weekend and night time flights will be kept to the bare minimum.
However, green campaigners, including Friends of the Earth, have been quick to criticise the council saying that their decision is in “brazen conflict” with the “need to tackle climate change” and that the potential for easing the local area’s unemployment has been overstated. A campaigner called on Boris Johnson to stand by his pledge to make London a green city.
Added to environmental concerns are the health implications arising from airport noise and pollution. The European Commission has stated in the past that living near an airport can increase an individual’s risk of both heart disease and stroke.