3rd January, 2006
The issue of ‘public’ or ‘third party’ safety is very important but tends to be given less attention by the government and the industry than safety of passengers.Safety – or rather danger – is an issue that is concern to many people around airports.While individual aircraft are safe and the chance of an accident on any particular flight is very low, the odds can add up for people on the ground living near busy airports.The issue of ‘public’ or ‘third party’ safety tends to be given less attention by the government and the industry than safety of passengers.Virtually the only recognition of third party safety is the establishment of ‘Public Safety Zones’ (PSZs), which would be more accurately be described as Public Danger Zones. These zones enclose areas around airports where the risk to an individual living in the area exceeds a certain threshold. There are restrictions on building in PSZs, but no action is taken if buildings are already in an PSZ. Thus houses, hospitals and school are allowed to be occupied in areas that officially recognised as too dangerous to build on. For more on some of these issues, see AEF briefing sheet “Public Safety Zones – current policy and the case for change”.