Response 196704635

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About you

A. What is your name?

Name (Required)
Judy Shardlow

C. Where do you live?

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(Required)
East of England
East Midlands
West Midlands
North East
North West
Northern Ireland
Scotland
Ticked South East
South West
Wales
Yorkshire and the Humber

D. Are you answering this consultation as:

Please select one item
(Required)
Resident affected by aviation
Airline passenger
Member of the General Aviation community
Member of the commercial aviation industry
Military
Government and / or other regulators
Representative or national organisation or institute
Ticked Elected political representative

E. Are you affiliated with any organisation?

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Yes
Ticked No
Please select one item
Yes
Ticked No

G. Do you consent for your response to be published?

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(Required)
Ticked Yes, with personal identifying information (name, location, respondent category, organisation, additional information - please note your email address will NOT be published if you choose this option)
Yes, anonymised
No

General observations

1. Considering the draft guidance overall, to what extent does it meet the following criteria?

Comprehensible – it is clear to me what happens
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Transparent – the activities are explained well and will take place as publicly as possible
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Proportionate – the guidance strikes the right balance between detail as to what should happen, and flexibility to allow for different local circumstances
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
How would you improve?
Is the process 'guidance' or is it a 'requirement'? Guidance suggests that it is an optional approach and fails to reinforce the significance and seriousness of professionally undertaking any flight path changes. The change process sponsor should not be the organisation to 'decide' who to consult, there should be very clear guidance i.e. county, district and parish councils, interest groups and residents who have expressed concerns about flight paths in the past. Parish councils must be involved in stakeholder consultations. Community consultation should be given the highest priority. In paragraph 46 it states that: "The change sponsor consults with those interested parties, including, where appropriate, local communities". Greater emphasis needs to be given the importance of local community consultation, thorough, detailed consultation well in advance of any proposed changes must be at the heart of any change process proposals

Tier 1a: Stages 1 to 7

2. Considering Stage 1 (Define) of the process , to what extent does the draft guidance on that stage meet the following criteria?

Comprehensible – it is clear to me what happens
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Transparent – the activities are explained well and will take place as publicly as possible
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion Ticked 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Proportionate – the guidance strikes the right balance between detail as to what should happen, and flexibility to allow for different local circumstances
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion Ticked 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
How to improve
You say as part of the process that; "the sponsor (usually the airport operator) must demonstrate: • a genuine need for the airspace change • that relevant options have been devised with the input of those affected • that the impacts of those options have been properly assessed through the quality of the safety, operational and environmental analysis • that a thorough consultation on the chosen option has been carried out and feedback taken into account • that the formal submission to the CAA as a fully developed airspace change proposal contains all the information that the CAA and other stakeholders need in the right format." This is too vague. There needs to be complete clarity about what evidence an operator must present to argue 'the need' for airspace change. There also needs to be a clear framework about the type of information and assessment an operator must do to assess the safety, operational and environmental impacts. Without this an operator will present a set of information that best suits their case for change. Bearing in mind that these changes are beneficial to the operator as they facilitate airport expansion, any analysis must be as objective as possible. It cannot be objective if the operator decides the nature and detail of 'evidence' that it will provide to support it's case. In which case there needs to be clear specification for the evidence to be presented in each areas and those pieces of evidence should be completely consistently by operators. Unless there is robust evidence to support the 'genuine need' for airspace change there will always be an assumption in the community that the rationale for change is merely a genuine need for more profit from an airport at the expense of the quality of life of local communities. It is also important that operators approach each change with a new assessment of need for each flight path. Luton Airport is proposing to change all of its flight paths and there is a risk that in order to progress their desire quickly they will ‘merge’ the statement of needs, the consultation and design process into single ‘consultation meetings’. It should be clear that this process needs to be a bespoke process for each single airspace change, not a collection of changes.

3. Considering Stage 2 (Develop and assess) of the process, to what extent does the draft guidance on that stage meet the following criteria?

Comprehensible – it is clear to me what happens
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Transparent – the activities are explained well and will take place as publicly as possible
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion Ticked 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Proportionate – the guidance strikes the right balance between detail as to what should happen, and flexibility to allow for different local circumstances
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion Ticked 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
How to improve
You state in paragraph B28 that: "all changes below 7,000 feet should take into account local circumstances in the development of airspace structures, including the actual height of the ground level being overflown, and should not be agreed to by the CAA before an appropriate community consultation/engagement has been conducted by the airspace change sponsor." However other factors need to be taken into account including background noise. Urban areas have a significantly higher level of background noise that relatively quiet rural areas. In Hertfordshire, the pattern of development: larger urban centres close to areas of quiet local countryside mean that that access to quiet countryside is valued as part of amenity and quality of life. Destroying quiet rural amenity, which extensively used for recreation, for the benefit of reducing background noise in urban settings is a unbalanced approach. Just using the metric of reducing the number of people overflow as a solution to noise, is overly simplistic and doesn't allow for an assessment of local circumstances. Greater balance needs to be given in this area and arguably residents in quieter rural areas may be more sensitive to noise, equally the impact of noise is likely to be higher in areas with low background noise. Greater weight needs to be given in an environmental impact assessment to the adverse physical and mental health caused by sustained exposure to aircraft noise during the day and night. Greater restrictions need to be placed on Luton Airport with particular regard to entirely unrestricted late night/early morning and through the night flights at present.

4. Considering Stage 3 (Consult) of the process, to what extent does the draft guidance on that stage meet the following criteria?

Comprehensible – it is clear to me what happens
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Transparent – the activities are explained well and will take place as publicly as possible
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Proportionate – the guidance strikes the right balance between detail as to what should happen, and flexibility to allow for different local circumstances
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
How to improve
The consult stage of your process talks about an online portal of documents: “The change sponsor issues the consultation documents, and publishes them on the online portal alongside the earlier material.” It is not clear who has ownership of this portal, the operator or the CAA? Luton Airport are likely to be inclined to make documents hard to find, and consultations complex to understand and respond to. This why a high level of independent and fair oversight is needed. An independent consultation portal needs to be maintained, not under the control or organisation of the airport.

5. Considering Stage 4 (Update and submit) of the process, to what extent does the draft guidance on that stage meet the following criteria?

Comprehensible – it is clear to me what happens
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Transparent – the activities are explained well and will take place as publicly as possible
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Proportionate – the guidance strikes the right balance between detail as to what should happen, and flexibility to allow for different local circumstances
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion

6. Considering Stage 5 (Decide) of the process, to what extent does the draft guidance on that stage meet the following criteria?

Comprehensible – it is clear to me what happens
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion Ticked 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Transparent – the activities are explained well and will take place as publicly as possible
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion Ticked 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Proportionate – the guidance strikes the right balance between detail as to what should happen, and flexibility to allow for different local circumstances
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion Ticked 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
How to improve
This stage, does not give sufficient weight to the impact of noise as an 'environmental' factor. You state that: "The requirements are based on the guidance in Appendix B – covering in particular noise, CO2 emissions and local air quality." Local air quality is a relatively minor issue compared to the significant harm caused by aircraft noise, particularly unrestricted night flights. In order for a CAA change framework to have integrity among the public, greater weight and rigour needs to be given to the robust assessment of any changes on noise, experienced by communities and individuals. Greater appreciation needs to be given to the understanding that in some locations and existing dispersed pattern of noise is considered more acceptable to the population that the creation of 'noise motorways' which destroy areas of rural amenity and quality of life. Greater recognition needs to be given to the physical and mental harm caused by increasing the number and intensity of aircraft noise over a population and greater weight should be given to the interests of existing communities over the commercial interests of airport operators. Particular scrutiny needs to be paid to assessing change applications from airport operators where the airport is effective operated by the local council as the normal process of checks and balances, in terms of noise assessment and critical analysis of the operators 'case' is absent as is a lack of support for local communities on the issue of noise nuisance.

7. Considering Stage 6 (Implement) of the process, to what extent does the draft guidance on that stage meet the following criteria?

Comprehensible – it is clear to me what happens
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Transparent – the activities are explained well and will take place as publicly as possible
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Proportionate – the guidance strikes the right balance between detail as to what should happen, and flexibility to allow for different local circumstances
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
How to improve
The change sponsor should be expected to engage with affected communities for longer than a year. The CAA should ensure that a defined process exists for communities to continue to raise an on-going problem and for steps to be taken by the operator to resolve it.

8. Considering Stage 7 (Post-implementation review) of the process, to what extent does the draft guidance on that stage meet the following criteria?

Comprehensible – it is clear to me what happens
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Transparent – the activities are explained well and will take place as publicly as possible
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Proportionate – the guidance strikes the right balance between detail as to what should happen, and flexibility to allow for different local circumstances
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
How to improve
Please see the response to the previous question

Tier 1a: Evidence of engagement

9. At certain stages in the process (starting with the development of design principles at Step 1b) the CAA will look for evidence of a two-way conversation to see that the sponsor has adequately engaged stakeholders. In paragraph C9 the CAA describes the evidence that we will look for as "detail of what sponsors have been told by their audiences; how they responded to this feedback; and how it has affected the proposals they are bringing forward".    Has the CAA adequately detailed what we would expect to see to know that a two-way conversation has taken place?

Please select one item
Yes
No
Ticked Don't know

Tier 1a:Third-party facilitation

10. At various points in the process (starting with the development of design principles at Step 1b) the CAA suggests that voluntary use of a third-party facilitator could be useful. Should the CAA be more prescriptive as to how and when a facilitator could be used?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Don't know
Facilitator further detail
The airport operator should not be able to choose the facilitator. The third parties should have the option to recommend a knowledgeable facilitator, an all parties should agree to using the facilitator. The cost of using an external facilitator should be borne by the airport operator with a budget ceiling to be agreed by the CAA. Suggest in the region of £3000 per space change proposal, i.e. per route change, NOT for space change proposals as a whole.

11. Are there any other places in the process at which you feel that a facilitator would be useful?

Facilitator - which places
There is a lack of specialist knowledge among ordinary people about the complexity of airport usage, noise measurement and analysis. This allows airport operators to take advantage of the situation and to present information in a way which is misleading or deliberately opaque. I believe that the entire process needs a degree of oversight to ensure that airport operators approach any changes in an honest, open and transparent way and to ensure that due weight is given to the concerns of residents, many of whom already are adversely affect by increasing aircraft noise and will be further affected by changes in flight path routes. For any process to have integrity it must be seen to be truly balanced and fair and for there to be genuine checks to the profit led motives of airport operators. This is particularly important in instances where there are no natural democratic balances in place, where there is effectively a conflict of interest caused by the immediate local authority having a direct and sole financial interest in the success of an airport i.e. Luton Airport.

Tier 1a: Categorisation of responses

12. In paragraphs 177 and C34-C36, and Table C2, we discuss the categorisation of consultation responses. The sponsor is required to sort consultation responses into two categories: i) those responses that have the potential to impact on the proposal because they include new information or ideas that the sponsor believes could lead to an adaptation in a lead design option or a new design option, and ii) those that do not. Is the CAA's explanation of the categorisation exercise and description of the categories sufficient?

Please select one item
Yes
No
Ticked Don't know

Tier 1a: Options appraisal

13. In paragraph E25 and E34 the CAA states that methodologies for the various aspects of the options appraisal should be agreed between the CAA and the sponsor at an early stage in the process, on a case-by-case basis. This provides flexibility for different local circumstances. Does this approach strike the right balance between proportionality and consistency?

Please select one item
Yes
No
Ticked Don't know

Tier 1a: Safety information

14. At each stage in the airspace change process that an options appraisal takes place, the sponsor will be required to submit a safety assessment. The sponsor will be required to provide a plain English summary of the safety assessment and the CAA will provide a plain English summary of its review (i.e. of the Letter of Acceptance, which forms the CAA’s review of the safety assessment) when it makes a decision. These documents will be available on the portal.   Do you have any views on specific information that should be included and/or excluded from the plain English summary of the sponsor’s safety assessment and the CAA’s review? 

Safety assessment
No

Tier 1b: Temporary airspace changes

15. Considering Tier 1b changes, to what extent does the draft guidance on temporary airspace changes meet the following criteria?

Comprehensible – it is clear to me what happens
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Transparent – the activities are explained well and will take place as publicly as possible
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Proportionate – the guidance strikes the right balance between detail as to what should happen, and flexibility to allow for different local circumstances
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion

Tier 1c: Operational airspace trials

16. Considering Tier 1c changes, to what extent does the draft guidance on operational airspace trials meet the following criteria?

Comprehensible – it is clear to me what happens
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Transparent – the activities are explained well and will take place as publicly as possible
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Proportionate – the guidance strikes the right balance between detail as to what should happen, and flexibility to allow for different local circumstances
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion Ticked 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
How to improve
The CAA needs to provide direction on the minimum amount of time trials should take place for taking into account the dominance of wind direction. Trials on westerly departure flight paths may not need to be lengthy as this is the dominant wind direction. However trials on easterly departures are likely to need significantly longer as this is not the direction of the prevailing wind, trials on these routes may be intermittent rather than over a sustained period of time and there may not be sufficient experience of the impact of a short time trial for communities to gauge the impact of any trialled changes. Easterly departures should have at least double the time allocated to a westerly departure trial. The same principle may be applied to arrivals.

Tier 1: Spaceflights

17. On 21 February 2017 the Government published the Draft Spaceflight Bill. As the foreword to the draft Bill sets out, “This legislation will see the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the UK Space Agency, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Health and Safety Executive working together to regulate and oversee commercial spaceflight operations in the UK.” Do you have any views on whether this process could be used or adapted to suit future airspace change proposals to enable spaceflights, as anticipated in the Draft Spaceflight Bill?

Spaceflight
No

Tier 2: Permanent and planned redistribution

18. The Government proposals talk about a Tier 2 change as one which is likely to alter traffic patterns below 7,000 feet over a populated area and which therefore could have a potential noise impact for those on the ground. The key requirement is that the air navigation service provider must demonstrate that it has assessed the noise impact of the proposed change and engaged with affected communities as appropriate. Which stages of the Tier 1a airspace change process do you think are necessary for a proposal categorised as a Tier 2 change? Please select all those which apply:

Please select all that apply
Ticked Stage 1 Define
Ticked Stage 2 Develop and assess
Ticked Stage 3 Consult
Ticked Stage 4 Update and submit
Ticked Stage 5 Decide
Ticked Stage 6 Implement
Ticked Stage 7 Post-implementation review
None of these
Don’t know

19. The CAA’s process for Tier 1a changes is scaled into ‘Levels’, based on the altitude-based priorities in the Government’s Air Navigation Guidance (i.e. where noise impacts are to be prioritised or considered alongside carbon emissions, a more demanding consultation is required). Could the future Tier 2 process also be scaled?

Please select one item
Yes
No
Ticked Don't know

Tier 3: Other changes to air operations affecting noise impacts

21. To what extent does the draft best practice guidance on Tier 3 changes (other changes that may have a noise impact) meet the following criteria?

Comprehensible – it is clear to me what happens
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion Ticked 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Transparent – the activities are explained well and will take place as publicly as possible
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion Ticked 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
Proportionate – the guidance strikes the right balance between detail as to what should happen, and flexibility to allow for different local circumstances
Please select one item
1: the guidance is good and meets this criterion 2: the guidance mostly meets this criterion Ticked 3: the guidance does not sufficiently meet this criterion
How to improve
In table 4 of your consultation you state that: "Over time, as technology has improved, aircraft have become more able to operate along the centrelines of published departure routes. This can mean that swathes of departing aircraft become more concentrated over time along a centreline. Providing this data about centrelines and distribution of traffic around them in conjunction with the information suggested above can help people to understand whether it is new aircraft causing noise or existing aircraft flying existing routes more precisely." This is not mentioned earlier in your documents when you describe tier 3 changes as: "A change in airline or airport operations as a result of weather, commercial decisions (such as routes flown or aircraft type), changing traffic volumes or magnetic variation, causing a noticeable shift in the distribution of flights over a period of time". The concentration of a 3-4km swathe of flights into a narrow, concentrated flight path IS a material change to the historical pattern of noise, a pattern of noise which has often existed for decades. There is already evidence to show that the impact of a change of this sort by applying RNAV to a route does have a signifcant and detrimental impact to communities on the ground. The scale of this impact means that any RNAV changes applied to either an existing or proposed route should be considered as a tier 1 change. Failure to do so raises the question of legal challenge from affected communities.

22. Where industry does not follow the CAA’s guidance in respect of Tier 3 changes, or where there is a clear breakdown of trust between an airport and its stakeholders, is it appropriate for the CAA to publicly draw attention to this?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Don't know
CAA action on Tier 3 further detail
There is already a breakdown of trust between Luton airport and surrounding communities caused by historic planning permissions which have continually faciltated growth at the airport and have failed to protect communities from noise. Luton Borough Council is the sole financial beneficiary of the profits of Luton airport and planning decisions affecting the airport should not be made by Luton Borough Council. This should be the case in all airports where there is direct prejudicial interest by the local authority in decisions which relate to airport matters.

23. Considering the list of potential information proposed, would you suggest any additions which would help stakeholders, including communities, understand the impacts of Tier 3 changes and enhance transparency?

Additional information on Tier 3 impacts
It is important that the CAA ensure that changes to existing routes to 'concetrate' flight paths by use of RNAV are identified as a tier 1 and not a tier 3 change as they are a material change to a historical pattern of flights.

24. In relation to mitigating the impacts of Tier 3 changes, our draft guidance says that the focus should be on exploring the options for mitigating the change through two-way dialogue, because of the local and often incremental nature of Tier 3 changes. Does the guidance need to give more detail?

Please select one item
Yes
No
Ticked Don't know