The £344 million plan to expand London City Airport will add to the city’s air pollution.
The comment from environmental campaigners comes as the UK Government approved the expansion programme.
New Chancellor Philip Hammond and Transport Secretary Sajid Javid gave the go ahead to the proposals which are set to create 1,600 jobs and add £1.5 billion to the nation’s economy by 2025.
The announcement follows Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s decision to withdraw City Hall’s objection to the airport’s expansion plans in May.
Friends of the Earth said the news is terrible for communities in East London “which are already badly-hit by air pollution, noise and congestion”.
London campaigner Sophie Neuburg added: “The government has been ordered by the Supreme Court to clean up London’s illegally-polluted air as fast as possible but instead it is taking a step which will make air quality worse.
“It’s disappointing that Sadiq Khan, who has said air pollution must be a top priority, removed a key obstacle to expansion. He must now stand up for Londoners’ lungs, be consistent on air pollution and commit to bringing London’s air pollution down to legal and safe limits by 2020.”
Caroline Russell, London Assembly Member and Councillor for Highbury East Ward in Islington and Transport spokesperson for the Green Party also disapproved of the plans.
She said: “When Sadiq Khan took office he withdrew the previous Mayor’s opposition to the City Airport expansion plans and in doing so he paved the way for today’s decision by the government. He has pledged to be ‘the greenest Mayor London has ever had’ and this week announced his vice chairmanship of a key global climate change committee but by effectively giving these airport expansion plans his seal of approval back in May and refusing to stop the toxic Silvertown Tunnel project nearby, he is not showing himself to be worthy of that title.
“The Mayor needs to be consistent and start taking actions that match the green image he is trying to cultivate. He should stop lobbying for airport expansion at Gatwick, talk to east Londoners suffering from air pollution and rethink his position on London City airport.”
ELN has contacted Mayor of London’s office for a comment.
Earlier this year, Heathrow Airport announced it will ban night flights and take action against noise and pollution if it is allowed to build a new third runway.