Lonely Planet Writer

Anger as mayor blocks £200m expansion at London City Airport

Mayor Boris Johnson has come under fire from London’s business airport operator because of his decision to block expansion at the facility due to “noise”.

London City Airport
London City Airport Image by Norbert Reimer / CC BY 2.0

London City Airport said they were “perplexed and disappointed” at his direct intervention in which he ordered Newham council to throw out planning approval for the project. This edict followed the council’s decision to grant permission to go ahead with a £200 million development to lengthen the taxiway and enlarge the terminal building which would double passenger numbers to six million within the next eight years.

The mayor turned down the scheme on the grounds that it would lead to an “unacceptable increase in noise for east Londoners.” A spokesman for his office said the city’s first citizen believed Heathrow couldn’t be expanded for noise reasons in the west, the same as London City could not be granted expansion for the east side.

The chief executive of London City airport, Declan Collier, believed the refusal was unjustified. He told the Evening Standard that there had already been approval to increase aircraft movements from 70,000 to 111,000 a year, adding that more fuel-efficient aircraft were actually reducing noise levels.

Mr Collier said it was ironic that Mr Johnson’s claims that he wanted to give London every advantage, was now denying the capital the business opportunity. The chief executive said that the expansion would have created 2,000 jobs in one of London’s most deprived boroughs and that they were now considering their options.