Tough new noise fines to hit flights at City Airport after surge in resident complaints

London City Airport is going to fine airlines for breaching noise limits after a surge in complaints from residents. 

The airport, based in the Royal Docks, has launched a “penalty and incentive” scheme for planes breaching its rules, and will name and shame them online.

Bosses revealed the airport had seen a spike in complaints since launching concentrated flight paths in February 2016. The paths were changed after new air traffic control technology was brought in to cut carbon emissions — flights follow streamlined routes to burn less fuel. 

Hundreds of residents, from Leyton to Lewisham, have complained that the changes caused an increase in noise pollution, so the airport is now fining airlines £600 per rule-breaking flight. 

Tessa Simpson, environment manager at the airport, told the London Assembly yesterday: “We have set noise levels that are some of the most stringent in the country. If they exceed those, we fine them a certain amount.

"That money then gets put into a community fund and that’s shared amongst community projects.” The airport is restricted by planning laws as to when it can operate, including an eight-hour closure overnight. Planes also have to fly in at a specific angle to minimise noise impact. 

Liam McKay, director of corporate affairs, said the community fund would launch in a few weeks and be given to groups living under the flight paths.

Asked if there had been an increase in complaints following the introduction of the concentrated flight paths, he said: “In 2016 it’s fair to say that complaints spiked. I believe last year we had less than one noise complaint per day. 

“We finished on around 320 noise complaints and [in the] year to date I think we’re tracking 390 — so an increase. But for context I believe there is a number from a single resident.”

He added that the airport was “determined to minimise the effects of our operation on local communities”.

Jennette Arnold, Assembly Member for Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest, said residents had “constant” noise, adding: “When you talk about one or two persistent complainants they have every right to be persistent.”

Caroline Russell, chairwoman of the Environment Committee, said: “People are getting desperate because of a lack of sleep.”

Read more news of London on our site.

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