Under the Transport Act 2000, the CAA is required to take account of environmental guidance given to it by the Secretary of State for Transport when exercising its air navigation functions. The new guidance has 2 key objectives. The first is to provide the CAA with additional clarity on the government’s environmental objectives relating to air navigation in the UK, including the need to improve the efficiency of our UK airspace network. The second is a reaffirmation of the need to consult local communities near airports when airspace changes are being considered in the vicinity of these airports. The guidance now reflects significant developments such as the creation of the future airspace strategy and single European sky, and the aviation policy framework.
Although this guidance has been prepared, consulted on and revised by the government separately from the Airports Commission’s work, it is notable that the clarity it brings around the introduction of performance-based navigation routes at our major airports and the need for greater delegation of decision-making powers over airspace changes to the CAA are in line with the findings of the Commission’s recently published Interim report. The government’s full response to the report will follow in the spring. In the meantime, this publication demonstrates the government’s desire to act quickly to make the best use of existing capacity.
A copy of the guidance can be found on GOV.UK and I will place copies in the libraries of both Houses.