Examination of Witnesses (Questions 533-539)|
1 FEBRUARY 2006
Chairman: I begin with some housekeeping
and Members of Parliament having an interest to declare.
Clive Efford: Member of the Transport
and General Workers Union.
Graham Stringer: Member of Amicus.
Chairman: Member of ASLEF.
Mrs Ellman: Member of the Transport and
General Workers' Union.
Q533 Chairman: Those of you who have
given evidence before will know that the House of Commons does
rather sacrifice status for straightforward acoustics, so please
speak up. May I ask you first to identify yourselves?
Mr Hamblin: I am Paul Hamblin.
I am Head of Transport and Natural Resources at CPRE.
Mr Wojtulewicz: I am Lonek Wojtulewicz,
and I am an officer of Leicestershire County Council, Head of
the Planning Section.
Cllr Cadbury: I am Councillor
Ruth Cadbury, lead member on the Council's Executive on aviation
issues at the London Borough of Hounslow.
Q534 Chairman: Did any of you have
anything you wanted to say briefly before we begin?
Cllr Cadbury: As the lead councillor
at Hounslow on aviation issues, I represent a deprived urban community
next to Heathrow, and I pass maps around. Whilst many residents
are economically dependent on the airport, nearly 250,000 people
in West London live within the 57 dBA contour, which WHO defines
as the onset of serious noise disturbanceday and evening.
Flight numbers have doubled in about 20 years and our community
suffers from night flight noise, disrupted education, air pollution
and traffic congestion, yet there are minimal mitigation measures
that benefit our community. We believe there should be fully funded
mitigation measures. Your inquiry into the work of the CAA is
most welcome as it allows us to comment on the weaknesses in the
current regulatory regime. The CAA currently has a statutory responsibility
for the safety and health of the aviation community but it does
not have a clear role to regulate noise. We believe the CAA should
extend its remit to include the impact of aviation on the wider
population, particularly those living next to airports.
Q535 Chairman: Thank you. That is
an interesting point. Mr Hamblin, you actually said in your evidence
that you thought the CAA remit ought to be changed to take account
of the Government's Sustainable Development Strategy. What kind
of changes, extra powers, should they have?
Mr Hamblin: Indeed we did. We
believe that the current duties which the CAA has do not address
the environmental issues. To quote the Chairman of the CAA before
the committee, the CAA has limited responsibilities in relation
to the environment. We would advocate a duty to promote environmentally
sustainable development, a duty which would be in keeping with
the Government's Sustainable Development Strategy.
Q536 Chairman: Mr Wojtulewicz, did
you want to comment on that?
Mr Wojtulewicz: Yes, thank you,
Chairman. Leicestershire County Council's experience is limited
to its experience with the East Midlands Airport and the recent
changes in controlled airspace over Leicester, which the CAA approved
last year. I would like to echo what has been said. Yes, I think
the CAA should have a duty put upon it more specifically to take
account of environmental matters. In particular, in considering
the planning system, if there is a proposed development at an
airport, the planning authority will take into account environmental
impact, but, when there is no physical development, it does not
require planning permission such as changes to controlled airspace,
and then the environmental remit is left to the CAA. We would
like to see that having more parity with other matters.
Q537 Chairman: You have all made
this point now that the CAA has a statutory obligation to ensure
that public demand for air transport is satisfied at the lowest
cost consistent with good safety. Do you think possibly it is
unrealistic to expect them to do the sort of environmental policeman
act at the same time? Is it not better to have a separate body
to deal with environmental regulation for aviation?
Cllr Cadbury: I started off being
agnostic about whether the CAA should do this or whether this
should be taken up by another body. I have just looked at the
Federal Aviation Authority website. The FAA in the United States
has a major role on environmental issues and also funds significant
mitigation packages that benefit residents around airports in
the US. The figure is about $1.9 million.
Q538 Mr Goodwill: Would you consider
the role of the CAA to be as sort of judge and jury, with the
CAA arbitrating on these additional environmental burdens placed
upon a particular community, or would we be embarking on yet more
public inquiries and a planning-type process administered by the
Mr Wojtulewicz: That is an option
that I have thought about and one which is a possibility, but
if you have a separate body dealing with environmental issues,
then who will be the final arbiter? I think that is the key issue.
If that remains with the CAA, it may be difficult for the CAA
to wrestle with these issues, but nevertheless they have a specific
duty to take them into account and they will remain the arbiter
of it. It will be difficult. The issue about a potential public
inquiry is something that again is a potential. If matters remain
unresolved in some way, then a public inquiry may be one way of
doing it, given that many local people, particularly in Leicestershire,
feel a little bit disenfranchised from the process.
Q539 Chairman: Do you disagree with
that, Mr Hamblin?
Mr Hamblin: I do not disagree.
I wanted to make a further point, which is that there is a potential
conflict between safety, economic regulation and environmental
impact. However, having multiple agencies trying to deal with
that I do not think is a way forward to resolve those conflicts.
Those potential conflicts are still going to exist, but it is
much more likely that they can be resolved with a single regulator.