CAA: “Facing up to aviation’s environmental challenges is the key to building new runway”
Posted: 4 February 2015 | The UK Civil Aviation Authority
The UK Civil Aviation Authority has called on the aviation industry and decision-makers to be much more ambitious in confronting aviation’s environmental challenges – including improving compensation for communities – or else face the prospect that essential additional runway capacity may never be built…
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has called on the aviation industry and decision-makers to be much more ambitious in confronting aviation’s environmental challenges – including improving compensation for communities – or else face the prospect that essential additional runway capacity may never be built.
In its response to the Airports Commission’s final consultation, the CAA has stated that local communities must not be expected to simply suffer the consequences of airport expansion. It calls on industry, government and all those involved in delivering the new runway to do much more to ensure communities can be confident that disturbance is minimised. Communities must also be fully engaged in the expansion process and fairly compensated for the disturbance they experience.
Without improved action to tackle aviation’s environmental impacts and more support for the communities that are affected, the CAA believes it is unlikely that any of the shortlisted schemes will ever come to fruition – leading to passengers facing higher charges, lower service standards and fewer routes to choose from, greatly limiting consumer choice and opportunity.
Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the CAA, said:
“It cannot be right that we expect to be able to build more runway capacity without the industry making big improvements to how it minimises its impact on its neighbours. The solution is partly operational – such as using the quietest aircraft available in the most efficient way – but industry improving the way it works with local communities is also crucial.
“This is now key to this debate, as communities cannot be expected to put up with airport expansion without much better engagement and compensation and more of a say in a development that will have a major impact on their local area. It’s hard to see how the additional runway capacity that will benefit consumers and industry for generations to come will ever be built unless this issue is comprehensively tackled.”
Measures the CAA believes should be taken to tackle the environmental impacts of aviation include:
- Minimising noise by using the quietest aircraft in the quietest fashion – making the most of advancing technology and making more efficient use of airspace
- Significantly increasing spending on noise mitigation and compensation for local communities – reversing the current situation where spending is lower than at major airports in Europe and the US
- Establishing an airport community engagement forum for local communities, aviation industry and policy-makers – to ensure communities have a say in decisions and creating an opportunity for genuine collaboration between all parties on compensation and noise management
- Being more transparent about the impacts of changes to ensure communities have a clear picture of how new capacity will affect them.
The CAA remains independent and has not endorsed any of the three shortlisted schemes being considered by the Airports Commission, but believes building any of the three schemes would benefit UK consumers. These benefits can only be realised by taking a more ambitious approach to community engagement and compensation.
The CAA’s response to the Airports Commission’s consultation on its appraisal of the three shortlisted schemes is available here. All of the CAA’s contributions to the Airports Commission’s work are available here.