Flight paths over Barking and Dagenham are under review as a result of changes to the navigation technologies aircraft using London City Airport employ. Over the last few weeks Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham, has been contacted by numerous residents with regard to the changes and the negative impact that they are having on local life. Constituents have raised a number of issues ranging from increased noise pollution with frequent flyovers and the lack of public consultation.
Currently, when the wind direction in East London is from the east, aircraft depart London City Airport into a headwind in an easterly direction. These flights depart and fly over Thamesmead before following one of two routes. One path takes aircraft over Thames View, along Upney Lane and into South Ilford. A second, more heavily trafficked path sees aircraft at 1000-2000ft over Dagenham Dock, Heathway, Dagenham East, Rush Green and Hornchurch.
The precision of aircraft following the two routes is variable, meaning the spread of residents being effected is high. However, the modernisation of navigation technology will result in aircraft following the paths much more accurately. As a result, while fewer residents will be overflown, particularly those of Chadwell Heath and Marks Gate. Those who remain overflown, namely residents of Thames View, Upney, Barking Riverside, Dagenham East and Rush Green, will experience more frequent disruptions.
Jon Cruddas MP argues that although noise modelling prior to the implantation of the proposed changes is not required by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), London City Airport have not carried out sufficient consultation taking into account that the changes affect a sufficiently large number of current and future residents. Due to the widespread and negative effects noise modelling should be required in this instance.
Hundreds of local people have complained about the changes, many citing increased noise as the greatest problem. Many frustrated residents have commented on the increased frequency of aircraft noise having detrimental effects on family and community life. One resident commented: “If I have the window open and a plane flies overhead I can’t hear someone on the other end of the phone, and I also have trouble hearing the television at a normal level.”
Jon Cruddas MP and local Labour councillors Mick McCarthy and Tony Ramsay have taken the concerns of residents all the way to City and East Assembly Member, Unmesh Desai at City Hall, who is currently meeting with representatives from London City Airport.
Jon said: “There was a distinct lack of attention drawn to any consultation that took place during the process to change flight paths. As with everything, I think it is important that local voices get a say on local issues, and anything that is set to have an impact on people’s lives within my constituency. In the coming weeks and months I will be meeting with local representatives, and London City Airport to try and find a way forward in the best interests of my constituents.”