March 26, 2009
The Government has this week published its Guidance for Airport Operators to produce airport noise action plans under the terms of the Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006. Under European law, states must ensure that actions plans are drawn up for the management of noise from major roads, major railways, and ‘agglomerations’; the ‘competent authority’ for preparing these plans is the Secretary of State. Action plans must also be drawn up for major airports, but in this case the competent authority is the airport operator itself.
The guidance notes have been amended following a consultation to which AEF responded. One of our comments was that in drawing up noise action plans operators needed to consult more widely than the relevant airport consultative committee, since interested parties are often excluded from these committees on grounds of balanced representation. The final guidance has been altered to reflect our view.
AEF will continue to press for further improvements to the implementation of noise action plans, key to which is the setting of mandatory limit values for noise thresholds at airports. Without this airport operators – commercial entities who have been given the power to self-regulate – will have little motivation to constrain their operations for the sake of local communities affected by aircraft noise.
For AEF’s response to the consultation on this publication, see Guidance for Airport Operators to produce noise action plans: AEF consultation response