judicial review

London City Airport - the verdict is out

If the discovery of various undercover cops within the climate movement over the last few weeks has not yet destroyed any last scraps of faith that you had in our supposedly 'democratic' system, then perhaps todays news will help finish it for good.

Despite an outcry from local residents in Newham who suffer from noise and air pollution on a daily basis, despite Newham Council's failure to consult local residents and surrounding boroughs on the impacts of expansion, and despite the fact that airport expansion of any type is in total opposition to the governments legally binding climate change commitments, the High Court has today refused to quash Newham Council's decision to allow London City Airport to expand its operations by 50%.

The failure of the legal system to stand up for the public good and against short sighted corporate interest has once again been made clear. For the residents of Newham, expansion will mean more noise and more pollution in one of the poorest areas of the whole of the UK. Yet many of the people who will suffer most as a result of the negative impacts of expansion were never even asked for their opinions. Not the residents of Newham. Not the surrounding London borough. And certainly not the populations of the developing nations which will be hit first and foremost by a changing climate.

Never has the need for direct action been so great. Our political system is not designed to deal with the threat of climate change. Worryingly, it is also increasingly helping to support the interests of large companies over the human rights of citizens. Once again, the law has served as a testimony for why direct action is a necessary course of action. LCA may today have won in the courts, the real battle is far from over.

Reacting to the decision, chair of local campaign group Fight the Flights Anne-Marie Griffen said:

"We are desperately disappointed by this decision. London City Airport already causes major disturbance and pollution to people living locally - the disappointment we feel at this outcome will be shared by thousands of residents across East London who are severely affected by London City Airport's operations but were not consulted about expansion.

Without clear guidelines to local councils on aviation expansion, the emissions targets set have no hope of being met. Fight the Flights is currently taking legal advice as to whether to appeal".