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London City Airport protest as High Court hearing begins

PUBLISHED: 10:05 18 November 2010 | UPDATED: 11:32 19 November 2010

Campaigners make their protest outside the court this morning.

Campaigners make their protest outside the court this morning.

Archant

OPPONENTS of the expansion of London City Airport have protested outside the High Court ahead of a two-day hearing.

Air travel from London City has played a big part in the economic regeneration of the area.

Judges will decide whether Newham Council was right to have allowed a 50 per cent expansion of flight movements back in October 2008.

Environmental groups and some local residents say the two-day hearing will give them a “chance of justice” as they seek to have the council’s approval overturned.

But City Airport has today fought back, highlighting a report that shows it has pumped millions of pounds into the east London economy.

Residents group Fight the Flights was joined for the protest by Friends of the Earth London Campaigner Jenny Bates, Lib Dem MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford and London Assembly Member for the Green Party Darren Johnson.

Gita Parihar, Acting Head of Legal at Friends of the Earth, said: “We believe Newham Council has acted illegally by failing to adequately consult on its proposals and failing to consider Government policy on tackling climate change.

“This legal challenge aims to give both the planet and local people a voice in decisions that affect their wellbeing now and in the future.”

Newham Council will contest the accusation and will have plenty of evidence to back up its belief that City Airport provides an economic stimulus to the area, playing an important role in the success of Canary Wharf, ExCeL and The O2.

An independent report by consultancy firm York Aviation said: “London City Airport has not only been an important catalyst in making East London a viable and attractive place to do business and to visit, it has been and continues to be an important gateway for overseas visitors.

“Around 360,000 business visitors came to London through London City Airport in 2008, contributing around £197 million in consumer expenditure to the economy .

“Similarly, around 313,000 visitors used London City to come to London to either visit friends and relatives or for a holiday. We estimate that these visitors contributed around £115 million in consumer expenditure to the economy.”

If the hearing rules in favour of the council, the airport’s annual flight movements will be allowed to expand from 70,000 to 120,000.

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