London City Airport has had to defend its plans for expansion, following a complaint from the Labour MP for the local area, Erith and Thamesmead. John Austin is concerned that the proposed increase in aircraft movements from 80,000 to 120,000 will affect his constituents adversely, both in terms of noise and general disturbance. He is calling for a public enquiry, should the London Borough of Newham give the green light to the plans. He also claimed that Bexley council residents would not receive funding for sound insulation, unlike residents in other affected areas.
A London City Airport spokeswoman has, however, defended the plans for expansion, saying that they form an important part of the regeneration of the Docklands area and, whilst it is recognised that some negative impact is inevitable for local residents, a careful balance has to be struck. She denied Mr Austin’s allegations that sound insulation would not be available and said furthermore that the measured threshold of sound at which such insulation is deemed necessary is lower in the London City airport area than in any other part of the country.
London City Airport is keen to be a “good neighbour” and will continue to enforce practices already in operation, such as a ban on night flights, 24 hour closure over weekends, and restrictions on noisy planes and the running of engines whilst on the ground.
Although the expansion may be bad news for local residents, there is no doubt that it is good news for employment in the area, with the promise of 2500 extra jobs in the period to 2030 with many more off site.