New mayor Khan criticised over City Airport expansion concession


New London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s withdrawal of City Hall’s objection to the compulsory purchase of land to expand London City Airport has been criticised as a ‘terrible start’.

In one of his first acts as mayor, Mr Khan has instructed GLAP (Greater London Authority Land and Property) to withdraw its objection to the airport’s Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for 26.4 hectares of land owned by GLAP.

A jet at London City Airport

Sian Berry, Green Party London Assembly member, and a defeated mayoral candidate said: ‘This is a terrible start for the Mayor, already putting paid to his pledge to be “the greenest Mayor London has ever had” and neglecting his duty to stand up for residents in East London who will be blighted by more noise and already live with illegal levels of air pollution.

‘Even if the GLA no longer objects, those residents will continue to make the case against the airport's land grab at the hearings and the Inspector must still make the right decision for London and reject the plans.’

The Planning Inspectorate  will make a recommendation on the CPO to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin and communities secretary Greg Clark.

Mr Khan’s decision to drop City Hall’s objection to the CPO does not affect the airport’s separate appeal against former Mayor Boris Johnson’s decision to direct Newham Council to refuse planning consent for its expansion plans.

A spokesperson for the mayor said: ‘The Mayor has decided to withdraw the objection to this proposed compulsory purchase of land owned by City Hall following new evidence recently submitted by London City Airport and ongoing negotiations.

‘The Mayor continues to support the case for improved noise mitigation measures that will be considered by the Secretary of State when he decides on the planning appeal in due course.’

Despite Mr Khan’s decision, other objectors to the CPO remain, including HACAN East, a local residents’ group.

Robert Barnstone, campaign coordinator at HACAN East, said: ‘Advocates of expansion at City Airport should get less, not more excited at this stage as this changes nothing. City Airport’s new PR team are claiming this is a bigger victory for them when in reality we will know the outcome of the main planning inquiry later this summer, once the Planning Inspector has reported to the relevant Secretaries of State. Nothing has changed.’

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