DTLR has published a summary of responses to it's consultation paper "The Future of
Aviation" published earlier this year (See the A4A alert issued at the time). The paper is part
of the Government's process to establish an airports policy for the next 30 years. The
consultation resulted in a total of 561 responses. Within this figure 120 responses came
from from individuals, 106 from local authorities, 72 from environmental and residential
organisations, and 119 from airports, airlines and related aviation organisations.
Although the paper covered the whole field of airports
policy, and dealt in the main with commercial air transport, one section dealt
specifically with General Aviation and posed two questions:-
a) Should Government policy on general
aviation build upon PPG13, perhaps with stronger guidelines about what should constitute
suitable facilities for general aviation?
In support of GA the concern was expressed that
PPG13 is advisory rather than mandatory. The difficulties of determining the fate of
airfields at local level in the absence of any national policy was also highlighted.
Opposition voices pointed out that GA has less
environmental controls than the rest of the aviation industry. Attention was drawn to the
perceived need for enforceable national regulations for environmental constraints,
including limits on movements, time of use and noise contour restrictions.
Both camps commented on the CAA's refusal to
accept silencer kits certified elsewhere in Europe.
b) Will it be possible to allow business
aviation access to major airports where there is a pressing need to make the most
efficient use of limited capacity?
Some 70% of responses, which included some from
the aviation industry, believed that Business Aviation would not be able to retain such
access due to forecast capacity constraints. The use of alternative GA facilities for
Business Aviation was seen as reason to provide such facilities with better protection
Responses indicating a preference for retaining
Business Aviation at major airports came from environmental and residential groups
opposed to increased usage of GA facilities. Others, including from the aviation industry,
cited the suitability of major airport facilities for Business Aviation and the ability of
other countries to mix Business Aviation with Commercial Air Transport.
Elsewhere in the paper, in the section on
planning, responses addressed the question of the suitabilty of PPG24 in providing
planning guidance on noise issues. The majority of respondents supported changes, citing
the lack of advice in cases where airport expansion introduces noise disturbance to areas
not previously affected, as well as in cases where new residential developments are
permitted to be established close to existing airports. Comments were also made that
planning guidance on noise does not cover areas further away from airports but under
flight paths and that it does not provide adequate noise evaluation guidelines or a
reliable indicator of the level of annoyance.
The next step in the process will be the
publication, early next year, of regional consultation documents. Responses to these, as
well as the Future of Aviation consultation, and including the results of various
environmental and strategic studies, will be taken into account in detrmining the policies
for the air transport White Paper due to be published in the second half of 2002.