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03/11/01 News
DTLR: responses to Future of Aviation consultation
The 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?
(148 responses)

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?
(96 responses)

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 against closure.

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.

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