1. Farnborough Noise Group
Farnborough Noise Group (FNG) was set up in 2019. The main group has c. 20 people who are aviation lawyers, aviation specialists, pilots, pollution specialists and management consultants local to the area. It is chaired by Colin Shearn who was chairman of DHL’s biofuels business and has worked for several airlines. FNG communicates with about 2,000 members of the public, 80 or so local councils and the 8 local MPs. They also engage with national and international aviation groups.
Their focus is on the problems caused to local people by aircraft noise, but they are also concerned about the impact of the increasing number of executive jets on carbon emissions and air pollution, which is why ACAN supports their work.
2. Farnborough Airport’s Airspace Change
Farnborough Airport’s operations have grown to cater for the expansion of flights by commercial and especially private executive jets. Following consultation, the Civil Aviation Authority approved significant expansion to Farnborough Airport’s Airspace which was implemented in 2020. Farnham is now completely under controlled airspace and has numerous flightpaths over it. Areas of South Farnham that had about 5 flights a day over them now have more than 100 and this affects Alton – ACAN has spoken to many residents who are aware of more flights over the town recently.
3. The CAA’s Post Implementation Review
The CAA is conducting a Post Implementation Review (PIR) of the Airspace Change. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on air operations, the commencement of the 12-month data collection period for the purpose of this PIR was delayed until 1 April 2022. Farnborough Airport data report to feed into this review was only published on 15 May – it is entitled “Sponsor’s post-implementation review analysis” on the CAA website. https://www.caa.co.uk/commercial-industry/airspace/airspace-change/decisions/2018-decisions/farnborough-airport-airspace-change-proposal/ . The CAA require comments on this document to be received no later than Monday 26 June. It is 417 pages long, quite technical and difficult to understand.
The CAA needs to provide information in a format that Councils and civic society groups can readily understand and allow adequate time for its consideration.
4. Farnborough Noise Group’s comments on Farnborough Airport’s data review
Farnborough Noise Group have undertaken the best evaluation possible in the time available of Farnborough Airport’s data analysis document. If you would like to have a copy of FNG’s evaluation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The top-level point they make is that the Post Implementation Review has not been conducted by Farnborough Airport in a way that meets the requirements of a PIR set out by the CAA (a “rigorous assessment of whether the anticipated impacts and benefits, set out in the original airspace change proposal and decision, have been delivered”).
Specifically, there has been no measurement of noise during the PIR period, other than at Farnborough Airport itself. The CEO of the CAA committed in writing to Jeremy Hunt MP on 15 July 2022 that noise would be measured up to 7,000ft and up to 20 miles from the airport for all aircraft, but no such aircraft noise data has been collected.
The closing date for comments on Farnborough Airport’s data review is 26 June 2023, and we shall await information from the CAA on the next stage in the PIR process.