2022 was a busy year and more to come in 2023
2022 was a busy and eventful year for Flightpath Watch and its supporters.
- January – Bromley Council’s Executive Committee reviewed Biggin Hill Airport’s Noise Action Plan five-year review report and found it lacking in crucial detail. BHAL were asked to provide the missing information and were given until June to resubmit its report.
- June – BHAL submitted their revised report.
- October – the revised report was returned to the Executive Committee, but the Committee’s recommendation was deferred because a vital decision from the CAA had not been received. This decision was in response to an action in the Noise Action Plan regarding the approach to Runway 03 which BHAL promised in 2016 when they applied and were granted additional operating hours. These hours were conditional on the completion of this action.
- November – BHAL presented an application to amend the Permitted User Clause in their Lease. This clause contains important restrictions on the types of flights which are allowed at Biggin Hill Airport and any change would have been detrimental to residents. BHAL’s application was refused by the Executive Committee. BHAL have threatened to take LBB to tribunal over this decision.
Throughout 2022, when Flightpath Watch has asked for support in writing to the Council to ensure that residents’ voices are heard, you have responded in numbers, which has been acknowledged by the Council as very significant. We truly appreciate all you have done. The Council is in no doubt that residents have been left disadvantaged by the decision in 2016 to award the additional hours without the protection of a working Noise Action Plan and proper controls on the operations at Biggin Hill Airport.
We recently received news of the CAA’s decision on the proposed route to Runway 03. The CAA has determined that the new approach cannot be accepted. Although this outcome was expected, it is a major blow for residents. For those interested in reading the details of the decision, it can be found at https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/London%20Biggin%20Hill%20Airport%20Rwy%2003%20IAP%20Decision%20(CAP2500).pdf.
- The provision of the new approach to Runway 03 was a condition included in the Noise Action Plan in order to reduce the number of flights passing over residents living north of the Airport by approximately 30%. This condition has not been fulfilled and the Council should now rescind the granting of the additional operating hours.
- The Executive Committee will consider BHAL’s revised five-year report on the Noise Action Plan at their meeting on 8th February 2023. This will follow the meeting of the Executive Resources and Contracts Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee which will take place on 2nd February 2023.
- These meetings are the opportunity for Bromley Council to decide if the actions in the current Noise Action Plan have been carried out correctly and fully since it was implemented in 2016 and to commission the preparation of a new, revised, Noise Action Plan for the next five years. We now know that BHAL has failed to deliver on one of the most important conditions in the current Noise Action Plan. It is imperative that the Executive Committee recognises this. We will advise further on what residents can do to help when we have considered the CAA report in detail.
- Apart from this issue, Flightpath Watch believes that there is sufficient evidence to say that the many other actions in the Noise Action Plan have not been fully complied with or have failed residents by not reducing noise. We have provided evidence to this effect to the Council over the years and we are now in the process of preparing a comprehensive dossier to present to the Executive Committee before the scheduled meetings.
- Whatever the decision of the Executive Committee in February we can demonstrate that the existing Noise Action Plan is not fit for the purpose of protecting the quality of life and of the environment for residents living under the flight path. We will clearly state how the revised Noise Action Plan needs to be strengthened in order to fulfil this purpose.
The outcome of the decisions to be taken in February will be, without a doubt, more important than any other taken on Biggin Hill Airport since 2016. It will affect all of our lives. We must ensure that the decision helps us – the residents – and does not make matters worse. Early this year we will contact you with the main headlines of our dossier and we will be asking you, once again, to make your feelings clear to the Council and to attend the meetings in person to drive our messages home.
Your efforts in 2022 have had a remarkable effect on the Council and they can no longer ignore the consequences of their decision in 2016. It is now vital to keep this momentum going.
We want to thank you again for your overwhelming support during 2022.