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Airspace modernisation plan risks increasing noise and climate change damage, AEF argues

The CAA’s draft Airspace Modernisation Strategy (AMS) sets out a plan for the use of UK airspace up to 2040. The draft strategy reflects recent developments including the parliamentary approval of a new runway at Heathrow, and Government updates to aircraft noise policy. Once finalised, the AMS will replace the 2011 Future Airspace Strategy (FAS).

The CAA’s online consultation on its plans closed on 10th September 2018. AEF’s response argues that increasing airspace capacity through modernisation risks increasing environmental impacts unless current regulatory gaps are addressed. The draft strategy acknowledges that “growth has to be managed to ensure that noise and other environmental impacts are managed in alignment with policy and law”, but argues that this should be achieved only through limits on “the number of runways or restrictions imposed on the use of those runways by government or planning authorities”. Given the limited ability of the planning system to set appropriate controls in every situation, we argue there is a case for the Department for Transport and the CAA retaining the right to impose limits by way of conditions on airspace use where this is the best or only means of providing environmental protection

Our response identifies gaps in the strategy, criticises the balance struck between the needs of industry and overflown communities, and questions the level of aviation demand that the strategy seeks to accommodate.

AEF’s full response to the consultation can be read here.