EASA launches public consultation on essential environmental requirements for European aviation
Fri 6 June 2008 – The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has published a consultation document, proposing improvements in environmental protection. Comments received will help EASA to formulate a final position to the European Commission in view of a possible legislative proposal and this would complete the single system to regulate safety and environmental compatibility in European civil aviation.
The EASA regulatory system is expected to cover all aspects of civil aviation safety in the near future. However, with regard to environmental responsibilities, the Agency’s role is limited essentially to ensure the environmental compatibility of aircraft and engines according to the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). But taking into account that all aspects of aviation have an environmental dimension, says EASA, the Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA 2008-15) suggests a number of essential requirements including, for example, measures to ensure aircraft are operated in an environmentally appropriate way.
“This consultation underlines the Agency’s commitment to the goal of environmental protection,” said Patrick Goudou, EASA’s Executive Director. “Existing international standards do not cover all types of aircraft and it takes a long time to introduce modifications. This makes it difficult for Europe to respond quickly to new developments.
“An alternative approach is for the Community to adopt its own environmental objectives. While ensuring compliance with international standards, this would enable Europe to better pursue environmental priorities.”
The NPA document covers the regulation of noise and emissions affected by aircraft design; airport and aerodrome land use, design and operations; flight operations; and air traffic management and air navigation services.
The Agency also proposes that there should be greater environmental awareness of those working within the aviation system.
“Ignorance or misunderstanding of environmental aspects may cause unnecessary nuisance that should be prevented where possible. Understanding the sources of noise and emissions, their propagation and environmental impact, ultimately helps the mitigation of environmental problems.
“As an example, decisions taken by pilots can significantly affect the noise on the ground, and thus it is logical to require that pilots have an understanding of how their behaviour influences this. For this reason theoretical knowledge requirements are included. Maintenance personnel and air traffic controllers should also have sufficient knowledge of noise and emissions issues to understand their role and responsibilities in the system.”
EASA, based in Cologne, was set up by the EU in 2003 with a mission to “promote the highest common standards of safety and environmental protection in civil aviation”.