Mark Reckless MP is calling on Rochester and Strood residents to respond to the proposals by London Southend Airport to re-establish controlled airspace around the airport which could result in an increase of low-level flights over Medway.
Mark is particularly concerned for residents living on the Hoo Peninsula and St Mary’s Island who would be most impacted should this large area of controlled-airspace be established. However, potentially all residents living in Medway could see their lives and homes blighted by increased noise and pollution, though to a far lesser degree than if the Thames Estuary Airport went ahead, and Mark is urging everyone to respond to the consultation before the closing date of 13th December 2013.
While the proposal is quite technical and complex, to summarise; Southend Airport is proposing to establish a large area of controlled airspace below the existing London controlled airspace. It would stretch from Rochester to Walton-on-the-Naze and from Maldon to the Isle of Sheppey covering some 2000 sq km:
- Where the existing controlled airspace has a base of 4,500ft, 5500ft or 8500ft it would be lowered to 3500ft.
- Where the existing controlled airspace has a base of 3500ft amsl it would be lowered to 2500ft, 1500ft or to the surface depending on the section
Mark is in agreement with The Royal Aero Club of The UK which believes the proposals are unreasonable and contrary to existing airspace principals. It would exclude other airspace users and have significant implications for those living beneath the proposed airspace.
Mark believes aircraft using the airport should be integrated into the existing London controlled airspace which already overlays the whole area and not fly lower than those using Stansted and Heathrow. Southend’s proposal would increase noise and air pollution for local residents, as well as presenting access and potential safety issues for other airspace users such as Rochester Airport and Medway Airsports Club.
Although the consultation document suggests there will be no environmental impact near the airfield and reduced noise exposure further away, this proposal will lower the base of controlled airspace over the whole area enabling substantial numbers of jet aircraft to fly below the existing London Terminal Control Area. The number of jet aircraft flights using London Southend Airport last year was 8,000, but the consultation document proposes to increase this to some 26,000 jet flights by 2020 and the airport already has planning permission to increase the total to 53,300 flights per year. This means that a wide area of Essex and North Kent would be exposed to more disturbance from aircraft noise and pollution than at present, both day and night. Once the controlled airspace is approved there is unlikely to be any means to challenge it effectively.
“I do not support the establishment of the proposed airspace because of the significant negative impact which it would have on us all. Residents living on the Hoo Peninsula already experience increased noise and pollution due to frequent low-level flights into Southend Airport which we were never consulted on.
At a time when we are fighting off proposals for a Thames Estuary Airport, I am concerned that residents now have the threat of increased low-level flights into Southend Airport and all the concerns which that will bring, albeit on a lesser scale. However, many of the same concerns regarding the Estuary Airport – noise, pollution, increased danger of bird strike – apply equally to flights into Southend which may come in low over the North Kent Marshes.
I am asking all concerned residents to make sure they respond to the consultation by writing directly to London Southend Airport.”
Responses can be made to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to:
Ms Sam Petrie
Airport Development Coordinator
London Southend Airport
Please indicate clearly that this is a RESPONSE to the consultation in the subject heading. The consultation closes on 13th December 2013.