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CAA consultation on airspace changes launched

Posted 31 March 2017 · Add Comment

The CAA has today launched a consultation on the draft guidance document that supports the new process for assessing airspace changes.



The guidance published today defines what will happen at each of the seven stages of the new process for permanent changes to the design and routes in UK airspace – from initial objectives and principles, right through to post-implementation review. It sets out detail for what a sponsor of an airspace change (the airport or other body requesting it) must complete at each stage; the stakeholders they must engage at each stage and the CAA’s expectations of that engagement. The guidance also covers how the CAA assesses the proposed change before making its decision.
 
This approach aims to bring greater transparency to the airspace change process, so those affected by potential changes have access to transparent, user-friendly information and are engaged fully by airspace change sponsors during the process.
 
Tim Johnson, Policy Director at the CAA, said: “We recognise airspace changes can have a significant impact on local communities and other airspace users, and that some of the proposed impacts are understandably unwelcome. We want to make sure that during the decision-making process, all those affected by a potential airspace change have access to transparent information and are engaged meaningfully in the process so they can have their say.  Although not all decisions will be universally welcomed, we want to ensure that everyone involved has confidence in the process and that their concerns have been heard. 

“The views of local communities, airspace change sponsors and airspace users are all vital to shaping the way decisions are made in the future and we urge all groups to have their say on the guidance we have published.”

In March 2016 the CAA consulted on the principles of a new process that it was proposing. In October 2016 the CAA published its report on that consultation and set out the new process it is now introducing (CAP 1465, available online at www.caa.co.uk/cap1465 ).

The guidance the CAA have drafted defines what will happen in the new process, including each stage a sponsor of an airspace change must complete; the stakeholders they must engage at each stage and CAA expectations of that engagement; and how the CAA assesses the proposed change. The CAA are inviting views as to whether the guidance is appropriate – including your views on whether its description of the stages of the process is comprehensible, transparent and proportionate.
 
Airspace and its design

Airspace is the volume of space above ground level and extends as far as aircraft can fly. Airspace has to be managed so that it is used safely and efficiently.

In the UK, airspace is either considered to be ‘controlled’ or ‘uncontrolled’. In controlled airspace, there is a system of structured routes and aircraft are managed by air traffic control services.
 
The design of controlled airspace is set out in the UK’s Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). The CAA makes decisions about whether that published design can change and they make those decisions in accordance with the legal and policy framework set by Government. The CAA have designed a process that anyone proposing (or ‘sponsoring’) a change must go through, to ensure that we get all the evidence we need to make our decision. The process includes public engagement as part of the design process, as well as options appraisals to produce comparable evidence about the design options.
 
In addition to the CAA’s decision-making role on the published design of airspace (in the AIP), the Government is currently consulting on policy proposals that would give the CAA a role on other types of changes to airspace (Reforming policy on the design and use of UK airspace). The Government’s policy consultation proposes a three-tiered structure for categorising changes to the design of airspace or the way airspace is used. This is summarised in the CAA consultation document and in the draft guidance.
 
How to respond to this consultation

Visit CAA's dedicated consultation website, Citizen Space, at consultations.caa.co.uk .


N.B.: CAA are asking for comments before 30 June 2017 and cannot commit to taking into account comments received after this date.

 

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