Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blame Newham or Greenwich Council

In a story on the News Shopper web site (click here) John Austin, the MP for Erith and Thamesmead, says that he is concerned about the increase in flights from London City Airport.

"Many of my constituents are naturally concerned about increased levels of noise and atmospheric pollution" he says.

Somewhat contradicting that he also says that many of his residents may not be aware of the proposals as Newham Council haven't informed them.

So it's Newham's fault?

Well not quite.

There is a group called the London City Airport Consultative Committee which describes itself as a forum for discussing Airport issues, keeping people informed and monitoring the local environment.

Deputy Council Leader Peter Brooks is not only the Councillor for Thamesmead (the people right under the flight path) but is also a member of that committee. Which makes a lot of sense, if he bothered to attend the meetings.

As I've mentioned before (here and here)up until the October 2007 meeting Councillor Peter Brooks hadn't bothered to attend any of the meetings for the previous four years.

There was nothing of any impact to Greenwich to be discussed he claimed at the time. Oh no, just an extra 40,000 flights a year and the concerns, as described by the local MP, of his own constituents.

In the January 2008 meeting Councillor Denise Hyland was described as Councillor Brooks' deputy who would attend when he couldn't. Well Councillor Brooks again failed to make that meeting or either of the two since then. Councillor Hyland has attended just one.

So if there is a failure here is it of Newham Council or Greenwich?

Greenwich Council has representatives on the airports consultative committee but in over four years they've attended just one meeting.

Will John Austin tackle the council over it's failure to become involved and it's ignoring of his, and it's own, constituents?

I doubt it. This isn't about the well being of residents, if it were we would have seen the Councillors attending the committee meetings that they were meant to, it's about political point scoring and trying to point the finger anyway but Greenwich.

Edited to add: I thought something ran a bell when I looked up Councillor Hyland, she represents Shooters Hill ward. Who else does? Well non other than Councillor Danny "stuff the people who trusted me when I said I would represent them, I'm off the Australia for 6 months" Thorpe.

Is it any wonder that Councillor Thorpe thought it was acceptable to run off? He probably looked at his colleague Councillor Hyland and thought "well she's on a committee and doesn't bother attending it when she is on the same continent, I can offer the same level of commitment and dedication to my constituents from Australia!"

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