Tomorrow, local residents are heading to the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand to ask the High Court to overturn Newham Council's decision to expand London City Airport.
Campaigners from Flight The Flights are opposing Newham's decision to allow a 50 per cent increase in flights at London City Airport because it has failed to consider changes to government policy on climate change or properly consult boroughs and residents in the surrounding area. The council’s decision, made in October 2008, would increase flights from the airport from 73,000 to 120,000 a year. However, on 15 January 2009 the government announced its intention to reduce aviation emissions to below 2005 levels by 2050. Newham Council decided to proceed with expansion anyway, reconfirming their decision at a planning meeting on 8 July 2009 and issuing formal grant of approval.
The High Court hearing starts at 9.30am and will last for two days. Campaigners are represented by Friends of the Earth's Rights and Justice Centre and will be joined by Friends of the Earth London Campaigner Jenny Bates, Lib Dem MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford and London Assembly Member for the Green Party Darren Johnson. A decision is expected at the end of the year or early in 2011 and if the Judicial Review is successful. Newham Council would have to reconsider the application.
Fight the Flights Chair Anne-Marie Griffin said:
Friends of the Earth's London Campaigner Jenny Bates said:
"The residents who make up and support Fight The Flights have worked tirelessly for the past three years to stop the expansion of this airport, which already causes so much disturbance and pollution. This hearing will allow those who were not consulted, and those who were not listened to by Newham Council, a chance of justice."
Gita Parihar, Acting Head of Legal at Friends of the Earth, said:
"More flights will mean more noise and air pollution for local people – these damaging plans must be overturned. Expanding the airport would increase climate changing emissions as well as adding to breaches of air pollution limits and worsening noise disturbance locally. London is not on track to meet either its own climate change targets or EU legal air quality limits - we should be developing plans that improve the situation, not make it worse."
See the Fight the Flights blog for more information
"We believe Newham Council has acted illegally by failing to adequately consult on its proposals and failing to consider Government policy on tackling climate change. This legal challenge aims to give both the planet and local people a voice in decisions that affect their wellbeing now and in the future."