16th April 2012
‘Deeds not words’, SSE tells aviation regulator
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has called on the aviation regulator to do much more to tackle the adverse environmental impacts of the industry, particularly for communities near to airports.
In its response to an environmental consultation by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) the campaign group makes clear that fine words will not be enough without measurable targets and timescales to ensure progress towards meaningful goals.
Top of SSE’s list for action is reduced aircraft noise during take offs and landing, coupled with a need to address night noise from both aircraft and airport operations. Noise nuisance arising from helicopters also needs to be dealt with say the campaign group.
“The CAA has at last accepted that it must play a greater role in addressing the adverse environmental impacts arising from the aviation industry and we welcome this,” said SSE spokesman Brian Ross. “However, we now want to see the CAA’s words translated into tangible actions. The regulator would do well to learn lessons from international best practice.”
The CAA is the main regulator for the UK aviation industry and at present its key roles relate to aircraft safety, flight paths, consumer protection and economic regulation. It is now aiming to develop an environmental strategy and responses to its “CAA and the Environment” consultation will help to shape this.
SSE wants the CAA to be far more active on environmental issues and is also pressing for it to become an independent environmental watchdog for the aviation industry. SSE notes that there is a lack of public confidence in the present system whereby airports mostly ‘self report’ their own environmental impacts, with little or no independent oversight.
To this end, SSE wants the CAA to take on responsibility for airport consultative committees and introduce some much-needed independence. Under the present system, bodies such as the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee are directly financed and controlled by the airport owner.
Concluding, Brian Ross said: “Airport consultative committees are almost universally viewed by local communities across the UK as ineffectual. If the CAA, rather than airport owners such as BAA, at least had responsibility for appointing and paying the chairmen of these committees, they would become more effective bodies and communities would have some confidence in their independence.”