London City Airport is to appeal to planning inspectors after its plans to expand its flying time on Saturday afternoons were thrown out after hundreds of objections by residents and local councils.

Newham Council refused to allow it to extend its cut-off time for flights from 1pm on Saturdays to 6.30pm all year round and 7.30pm during the summer months. The airport had also wanted to increase its daily limit of flights from six to nine between 6.30am and 7am.

Councillors cited noise disturbance and the impact London City’s plans could have on the environment as major concerns when they threw the plans out on Monday. Newham’s planning officers had recommended refusing the airport’s plans.

Take-offs and landings can be heard across Woolwich, Charlton, Thamesmead and the Greenwich Peninsula, while the flightpath stretches over areas including Sidcup, Eltham and Catford. Both Greenwich and Lewisham councils had filed objections, as did all of Newham’s neighbouring boroughs.

City Airport claimed that Newham had made “the wrong decision” and that the impact on people across east and south London would be “limited”. It is hoping for a speedy reversal of Newham’s decision.

Robert Sinclair, the airport’s chief executive, said: “We are disappointed with Newham Council’s refusal of our proposals that will deliver significant benefits to our local community including new jobs, more choice of holiday destinations for passengers and better local transport connections.

“We have worked incredibly hard to develop proposals that genuinely reflect concerns raised, sought feedback from our local community and worked closely with the council’s planning officers.”

He added: “Their views are built into our proposals to ensure that we addressed appropriate concerns and continue to be a good neighbour and local employer.”

Sinclair claimed that if the appeal was successful, its airlines would be able to switch to “cleaner, quieter, new generation aircraft sooner; delivering more choice for passengers, more jobs for local people and reducing the overall noise impact as early as next summer”.

More than 1,600 residents objected and Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Southwark, Havering, Hackney and Tower Hamlets councils also opposed the plans. The London mayor’s office also said that it was unhappy with the proposals.

For the last 25 years the airport has had a “weekend respite” with no flights between 1pm on Saturdays and 12.30pm on Sundays so residents can have a break from the noise.

Additional reporting by Darryl Chamberlain

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Ruby Gregory is the Local Democracy Reporter for Tower Hamlets. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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