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Sunday, 22 May 2011

London City Airport - Respect your neighbours !

Having lived in close proximity to London City Airport (LCA) for nearly 13 years you kind of get used to big business clashing with, and ignoring local residents.  Regardless of the PR stunts they really dont give a flying toss about them.

In recent times theres been the debacle of the increase in flights and London Borough of Newhams (LBN) inability, or unwillingness to doing anything sensible about it.  (for more info http://www.fighttheflights.com/).

Noise measurement and the clever manipulation of 'stats' and blissful disregard for decent debate is another long standing problem residents feel aggrieved by.

Now you will probably say, and rightly so, that I chose to live close to an airport so put up and shut up.  Which is a fair point.  But when you move in its doing so with certain understandings about flight numbers and so called noise regulations.

But onto the latest LCA stunt.  

For the geographically challenged LCA is on the south side of Royal Albert dock.  One of three docks which together make up the Royal Docks.  Steeped in history and at the time, and maybe still, the biggest man made dock in the world.

In the past 10 years a heap of residential and commercial development has gone on both north and south of Royal Victoria dock.  Houses, apartments and hotels serving The Excel Exhibition centre.  Royal Docks also now one of the regeneration zones recently announced so has a bright future.

10 years ago a pair of swans moved in to the area and recently gathered a flock of friends, some of which have apparently been displaced by work on the Olympic village in Stratford.  At times theres probably 40 swans in and around the docks sharing the space with Canadien geese, More-hens, Ducks, unfortunately sea gulls and the obligatory London Rock Doves - Pigeons !

LBN recently 'relocated' (when I say relocated you should read kick them out and not find them another home) the sailing centre and its left the dock rather devoid of human use so the increase in wildlife has become an attractive and welcome addition - why not let the birds use it if no-one else will.

Yesterday a neighbour told me the airport planned to post warnings that people should stop feeding the birds which is encouraging them to stick around, and also a warning about possible prosecution.  A cull was even talked about - Swans !? owned by the Queen - someone should let her know !  This has to be a sewing circle chinese whisper.

Well this morning (Sunday, yes Sunday !) the village drums started to beat that someone was capturing swans and a LCA 'security' patrol was in attendance.

Wandering down to investigate, camera and phone in hand I was presented a leaflet from LCA explaining the legality and safety issues the swans cause and they had obtained all the required permits.

When someone asked to see the permit ? - no.  A registered swan charity also in attendance would seem to indicate it was above board. 

Apparently this amount of birds is starting to make LCA edgy about safety.  Which I guess is fair enough,  a 10kg swan, goose, duck or in fact any of the birds in the area could do some interesting damage.  But interestingly pilots claim its actually the seagulls which are the problem.  Regardless, LCA say the swans have to go .. the rest or the birds, well they will probably be culled.

I don't actually have a problem with the safety part of this argument but more the way LCA just roll in and just throw their weight around, its not acceptable.  Not a single attempt to engage with the community, explain the reasoning or any background.

I'm not shocked, its just another example of the business rolling the community.  Well all I can say is stand by, they've pissed some noisy people off with this little exercise.


No doubt they'll remove the remaining swans but that still leaves a plethora of other birds which without the Queens protection will probably be culled.  And in fact it doesn't actually solve the problem, it just temporarily removes a symptom. The birds will be back !


Business, people and nature.  Business will win.



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