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Community groups concerned about noise from airports have written to David Cameron calling on the government to bring forward a review of airspace policy and the process for consultation and engagement.
The letter to the prime minister describes the current approach for making airspace changes as “not fit for purpose” and demands that a moratorium on flight path trials and airspace decisions is introduced until a new policy is put in place.
The open letter from 24 community groups across the south-east and next to Edinburgh airport follows a delay in the review of airspace policy to after a decision on a new runway for the London area was postponed until the summer.
The government and the Civil Aviation Authority were expected to consult on proposals to change the policy and process for making changes to flight paths early this year.
However, it has emerged earlier this month that the government does not plan to review its policy for airspace change until at least the summer, when it makes a decision on south-east airport expansion.
Aviation Environment Federation director, Tim Johnson, said: “The current airspace change process is confusing, with a lack of transparency about who is responsible and insufficient public information and engagement. This leaves many communities feeling angry and excluded.
“We need a clearer policy direction from government with effective community consultation to avoid any more disastrous flight path trials. David Cameron needs to know that people up and down the UK are calling for a review immediately, and there is no justification for this to be held up by the Government’s deliberations on a new runway.”
Nigel Davies, spokesman for Englefield Green Action Group, a community group set up in the wake of Heathrow flight path trials, said: “The infamous 2014 Heathrow flight path trials had a dramatic negative impact on our village.
“Whilst the trials were terminated early, following extensive public protests, we continue to be adversely affected by 'unofficial changes' to flight paths, within the approved take off routes.
“The trials and flight path changes were introduced for commercial reasons benefitting the airlines and Heathrow, having no regard whatsoever to residents living on the ground.
“Our experiences demonstrate that the current airspace change process is 'not fit for purpose' as far as residents are concerned.”
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