AEF has today responded to the Government’s consultations on Heathrow expansion: draft Airports National Policy Statement (ANPS) and Reforming policy on the design and use of UK airspace. Both responses were informed by feedback from our members, including points raised during the discussion at last month’s AEF event on the Government’s proposals.
Our response to the ANPS consultation questions the economic rationale for additional capacity and highlights serious deficiencies in the approach taken to ensure that Heathrow expansion is consistent with environmental legislation and the need to protect public health. These include:
We have also written to Jeremy Sullivan, who has been appointed by the Department for Transport to oversee the consultation process, to argue that the deficiencies in the information provided are so significant that the process should be suspended.
Our response to the airspace consultation supports many of the measures proposed, including an options appraisal process for assessing the noise impacts of possible new flightpaths, the introduction of a call-in function for the Secretary of State in cases where the impacts of airspace change would be significant, and the creation of an independent commission on aviation noise.
However, we argue that significant shortcomings in the regulatory approach to noise remain given the lack of any meaningful strategy or targets for noise reduction and the Government’s reluctance to define limits beyond which aviation noise is unacceptable. Since the Strategic Rationale for upgrading UK airspace anticipates a 50% increase in air traffic by 2030, Government needs to step up to the challenge with a much tougher approach to noise regulation.