At end of last week, the High Court had heard the legal challenge against Newham Council’s decision to allow London City Airport to increase operations to 120,000 flights per year. We can expect the verdict sometime around Christmas. The surprising thing is that the other Local Authorities in North East London whose residents are will be greatly affected by the decision, were nowhere to be seen for the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice.
Given the grounds of the challenge by Fight the Flights – that Newham failed to have regard of the Government’s policy on climate change and aviation; that Newham failed to consult relevant neighbouring local authorities; and Newham failed to consult the residents of those boroughs – you would have thought that neighbouring local authorities would have given evidence, or at least kept a passing interest in the matter. Although I don’t doubt they are taking an interest from afar, given the impact it is having on their residents, if only on noise.
Interestingly, one of the matters not pursued has been the myth that the Mayor of London was not consulted on the original decision. This was raised on the 18th January 2010 at a Peoples Question Time (PQT) in Ilford. When asked by the audience and myself why he had not intervened with his planning powers to “call in” such hugely a contentious planning application, the Mayor declared that he wasn’t the Planning Authority & didn’t think he could have called in the decision. However, he did agree to press for a public consultation and said that he considered himself to have been lobbied on the matter. However, it later transpired that previously, on the 28th July 2008, he had in fact already considered an officer’s report & had at that time supported the expansion. In addition, on the 10th September 2008 he had considered another report and declared himself satisfied that the expansion would not adversely impact on the planning case for the Thames Gateway Bridge. I imagine he must be pretty glad he was not called as a witness to the judicial review as his earlier involvement would surely have been exposed.