Targets urged to cut Heathrow stacking
Targets to eliminate excessive aircraft stacking - where planes queue up to land - must be set if a third runway is built at Heathrow, a report by MPs said today.
The Government should also look at limiting noise levels and aircraft numbers over beauty spots, the report from the House of Commons Transport Committee said.
MPs were also concerned that the extension of the European Aviation Safety Agency's remit could mean a lowering of safety standards.
Entitled the Use of Airspace, the report said some stacking was inevitable but that excessive stacking such as frequently occurred at Heathrow in west London had "negative environmental impacts".
The committee said: "A third runway at Heathrow, if built, offers a real opportunity to add resilience into the air traffic management system and to help reduce excessive stacking.
"If a third runway is built at Heathrow, the Government should create a framework for setting targets to eliminate excessive stacking around the airport."
The report said that the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should "examine the case for adopting maximum limits on noise levels and numbers of aircraft permitted per hour over sensitive areas such as national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty".
MPs also called on the DfT to issue up-to-date environmental guidance to the CAA before the end of the year, with the guidance representing current Government thinking on carbon dioxide and other emissions in relation to transport decision-making.
The report said: "The Government and CAA must work to ensure that environmental assessments for airspace-change proposals use reliable evidence-based criteria."
The committee also asked for six-monthly reports on the European Aviation Safety Agency whose remit is now set to include aerodrome safety, air navigation services and air traffic management.
MPs said they supported the principles of the single European sky initiative to create a more rational organisation of European airspace.
The report concluded there was "much to commend" in the current management of UK airspace and that the committee had been impressed by the "technical competence and professionalism" of the CAA and of air traffic control company Nats.
MPs rejected suggestions that responsibility for decision-making about airspace be placed in a different organisation than the CAA.
However, the committee said the CAA should review the techniques it used to design controlled airspace around airports and improve the way it communicated with stakeholders.
The CAA should also encourage a choice of options wherever airspace changes were proposed.
The committee's chairman Louise Ellman MP said: "If a third runway at Heathrow Airport is built, then the Government should set targets to cut stacking.
"Tranquillity is a key factor in sensitive areas such as national parks. Current guidance appears to allow unchecked increases in aviation activity over these areas. Without some level of constraint, the noise environment in these areas may degrade progressively as traffic increases. The DfT should fund exploratory research on how to set useful limits."
Ralph Smyth, senior transport campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: "With ever more people holidaying in England this summer, the proposal to limit flying over sensitive parts of our countryside such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty have not come a moment too soon."
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
£55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...
£45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...
25,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luto...