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Guidelines for Airport Consultative Committees

Guidelines for Airport Consultative Committees

These guidelines are intended to assist those involved in establishing, running and participating in airport consultative committees. They supersede the guidance issued by the then Department of Transport in 1987-88.

Aerodromes 1 to which section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 applies have a responsibility to provide facilities for consultation. However, this guidance will also be applicable to any aerodrome with a consultation process and others with an interest in consultative procedures. We recognise the differences in circumstance between individual aerodromes and that arrangements and procedures for one committee may not be appropriate for another. It is important that the aerodrome and the committee retain the flexibility to adapt to local circumstances.

1. The legislation

1.1 Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 (as amended), which deals with facilities for consultation at certain aerodromes, states:

1. "This section applies to any aerodrome which is designated for the purposes of this section by an Order made by the Secretary of State.

2. "The person having the management of any aerodrome to which this section applies shall provide:-
 a. for users of the aerodrome, 

 b. for any local authority (or, if the person having the management of the aerodrome is a local authority, for any other local authority in whose area the aerodrome or any part thereof is situated or whose area is in the neighbourhood of the aerodrome), and 

 c. for any other organisation representing the interests of persons concerned with the locality in which the aerodrome is situated, adequate facilities for consultation with respect to any matter concerning the management or administration of the aerodrome which affects their interests.

3. "The reference in subsection (2)(b) above to any local authority includes in relation to the area of Greater London a reference to the Mayor of London acting on behalf of the Greater London Authority."

2. The purposes of consultation

The purposes of consultation are:

  • to enable aerodrome operators, communities in the vicinity of the aerodrome, local authorities, local business representatives, aerodrome users and other interested parties to exchange information and ideas;
  • to allow the concerns of interested parties to be raised and taken into account by the aerodrome operators, with a genuine desire on all sides to resolve any issues that may emerge;
  • to complement the legal framework within which the aerodrome operates;

However, consultation is not intended -

  • to detract from or constrain the responsibility of the aerodrome owner and/or operator to manage the aerodrome;
  • nor to prevent interested parties from raising concerns directly with the aerodrome, or through other channels.

Engaging with stakeholders

An airport informs interested parties about its operations and receives feedback in a number of ways including:

  • airport visits,
  • information leaflets,
  • dedicated telephone comment line,
  • newsletters,
  • website,
  • public meetings,
  • involvement in community events,
  • public surveys,
  • correspondence with individuals,
  • displays and exhibitions.

3. The form of consultation

3.1 The nature of 'adequate facilities for consultation' will depend upon the type and scale of the aerodrome operation and is likely to be site specific. An aerodrome engages with those affected by and involved in its operation in a number of ways, of which the consultative committee is only one mechanism.

3.2 However, the Department recognises that the best means of ensuring fair treatment of the different categories of statutory consultees is through a consultative committee formed for this purpose. This provides an opportunity for the aerodrome to consult relevant groups simultaneously, but also allows those groups to engage with each other directly.

3.3 A consultative committee provides:

  • an opportunity for information exchange between aerodrome and interested parties;
  • a structured forum for discussion so as to make recommendations to the aerodrome management and other bodies when appropriate;
  • the opportunity to reach common understanding between interested groups about the nature of aerodrome operation, thereby increasing the scope for issues to be resolved amicably. However, people interested in and affected by an aerodrome operation may have mutually inconsistent viewpoints and it is not realistic to expect that all matters of concern will be able to be resolved through discussion;
  • to promote understanding about aerodrome operations more widely, through dissemination of relevant information by committee members;
  • to promote understanding by the aerodrome operator of the nature of its impacts on local communities and businesses.

However,

  • a consultative committee is not a dispute resolution forum;
  • a consultative committee does not have any executive or decision-making power over the aerodrome.

1 In these guidelines ‘aerodrome ‘ applies to any aerodrome, irrespective of the size of operation. The term 'airport' is used interchangeably.

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