HACAN East gives broad welcome to Airspace Consultation

Airspace Policy Consultation

 On February 2nd the Department for Transport (DfT) launched its Airspace Consultation.  It is a national consultation.  The closing date for responses is 25th May.

 On the same day the DfT launched its consultation on a 3rd runway at Heathrow.  For more details of that consultation visit the website of HACAN, our sister organisation:  www.hacan.org.uk   

 HACAN East broadly welcomes the Airspace Policy Consultation.  Below we summarise the key points.

 You can find the consultation at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/589099/uk-airspace-policy-consultation-executive-summary.pdf  (summary).  Responses to be emailed to airspace.policy@dft.gsi.gov.uk

 Remember, in order to respond, you don’t need to be an expert.   Just say what you think and explain how aircraft noise affects you.  But also feel free to use the points below.

 Key points

 The concentration of London City Airport’s flight paths in February 2016 caused a lot of grief across many communities.  The introduction of concentrated flight paths at Gatwick also resulted in a huge number of complaints.  The reaction of residents at London City and Gatwick to their concentrated flight paths was one of the things that persuaded the Department of Transport to produce this Airspace Policy Consultation.  And it contains much that residents under London City flight paths will welcome.

 It is proposing much more public engagement before new flight paths are introduced or changes are made to existing flight paths.  This is to be welcomed.

It says that multiple routes are an option to avoid concentration over particular communities.  This is welcomeIt argues that noise should be the key issue when flying planes below 4,000 ft and only one of the factors between 4,000 and 7,000 ft.  That would be a continuation of the current situation.  On the basis of where complaints come to us, HACAN East argues that noise should be the main consideration up until at least 6,000ft.

 It proposes an Independent Noise Authority, ICCAN.  It proposes a fully independent body; advisory rather than regulatory.  Funding would come from Government to pay for a Board and a Secretariat.   It would be housed within the CAA but independent of it.  Local communities generally welcome the setting up of an Independent Noise Authority but will want guarantees that it will be truly independent and will have teeth.

 It is proposing new metrics to replace the 57 decibel contour as ‘the onset of community annoyance’.  This 57 decibel contour has been much criticized as not reflecting reality.  For example, places like Leyton and Leytonstone are outside the 57 contour yet ircraft noise is clearly a problem.  The DfT proposes replacing it with a 54 decibel contour and even, on occasion, with a 51 decibel contour.  These are overdue changes which will reflect more accurately the areas where noise is a problem.