London City Airport expansion proposal rejected by council

The frontage of the London City Airport building.
ChiralJon, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read

On Monday, Newham Council made the decision to reject London City Airport’s proposal to expand its passenger capacity from 5 million to 9 million by extending its operating hours.

This verdict comes as a result of growing concerns over the potential increase in noise pollution caused by the additional flights.

Proposed extension of operating hours


The airport had proposed an extension of its operational hours on Saturdays to permit departures and arrivals up until 6:30 PM, as well as three additional early morning weekday flights.

As it currently stands, flight operations are not permitted between 12:30 PM Saturdays and 12:30 PM Sundays as part of a noise abatement curfew.

London City Airport (LCY) argued that their proposed expansion was necessary to meet the rising post-Covid demand for air travel and to stay competitive among other European airports.

The airport also pointed out that the provision of extended operational hours would also act as an incentive to airlines to speed up their fleet transition to quieter next generation aircraft types.

However, councillors emphasized that the anticipated noise pollution would pose an unbearable burden on local residents.

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This decision comes as an obvious blow to the airport’s aspirations of expansion. It also represents a setback for the government, which had previously endorsed the expansion plans.

Expressing disappointment, the airport has stated that it is currently evaluating its next course of action. Nevertheless, it is highly likely that the expansion plans may be put on hold indefinitely.

Newham Council concerns


Several key reasons influenced the council’s rejection of the expansion plans, which are detailed below:

Noise Pollution: The council determined that the additional flights would introduce a “materially new and substantial harm” to the well-being of local residents due to increased noise pollution.

Air Quality: The council also highlighted the negative impact the expansion would have on air quality in the surrounding area.

Congestion: Concerns were raised regarding the potential escalation of traffic congestion in the vicinity if the expansion were to proceed.

The council’s decision to dismiss the expansion plans serves as a triumph for local residents who have been campaigning against these proposals for years.

They contend that the airport is already excessively noisy, and any expansion would exacerbate the situation.

A setback for London City Airport


Furthermore, this verdict represents a setback for the government who had argued that the expansion was crucial for economic growth and job creation.

However, the council’s ruling indicates an apparent disconnect between the government and the concerns of local residents.

While it is too early to fully grasp the long-term implications of this decision, it is evident that the expansion plans have been effectively halted.

The rejection by Newham Council has dealt a blow to both the airport’s aspirations for growth and the government’s backing. The airport’s application is now to be referred to the Greater London Authority for a final decision.

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