Airspace In­quiry launched by Par­lia­men­tary Group

Pilot - - NOTES -

The 174-mem­ber-strong Al­lParty Par­lia­men­tary Group on Gen­eral Avi­a­tion (APPG-GA) has launched a ma­jor in­quiry into UK airspace and how it is man­aged. ‘The Group be­lieves that the UK’S airspace be­longs to ev­ery­one and there­fore re­mov­ing it from cer­tain users must come with spe­cific re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Eq­ui­table ac­cess is there­fore para­mount,’ it says.

The wide-rang­ing in­quiry will study all com­po­nents of gov­er­nance and process that re­sult in airspace de­ci­sions be­ing made in the UK, and its re­port is ex­pected to make a se­ries of rec­om­men­da­tions on how to im­prove the cur­rent sys­tem, which is widely be­lieved to pro­duce in­equitable out­comes for the ma­jor­ity of airspace users.

A Call for Ev­i­dence has been opened, clos­ing on 31 Oc­to­ber, and the APPG-GA is en­cour­ag­ing all avi­a­tion­re­lated or­gan­i­sa­tions to sub­mit ev­i­dence. Hear­ings will take place at West­min­ster with cer­tain key wit­nesses ex­pected to be called for in­ter­view in per­son. The re­port and hear­ings will be chaired by Lord Kirkhope of Har­ro­gate, Par­lia­men­tary Chair of the Airspace Work­ing Group (who is a pi­lot), and hear­ings will be broad­cast live and recorded. The re­port, to be pub­lished in 2019, will in­clude rec­om­men­da­tions for min­is­ters and a for­mal re­sponse will be re­quested from govern­ment min­is­ters. MPS and Peers may de­cide to in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion in or­der to bring find­ings into ef­fect.

Lord Kirkhope com­mented: “The Gen­eral Avi­a­tion APPG be­lieves that the UK’S airspace be­longs to ev­ery­one, so this in­quiry aims to study the gov­er­nance and process that re­sult in airspace de­ci­sions and what im­prove­ments can be made to the cur­rent sys­tem. I en­cour­age all or­gan­i­sa­tions in­ter­ested in this sub­ject to sub­mit their views via the Call for Ev­i­dence.”

Sec­tor Chair of the Airspace Work­ing Group, Pete Strat­ten, added: “Airspace should ef­fec­tively be­long to ev­ery­one, but some airspace users be­lieve the cur­rent sys­tem leads to im­bal­ances. This in­quiry and re­port will in­ves­ti­gate this and our rec­om­men­da­tions will be de­signed to strike the right bal­ance when it comes to shar­ing our na­tion’s airspace.”

The Rt Hon Grant Shapps, MP, Chair of the APPG on Gen­eral Avi­a­tion, said: “Par­lia­ment is keen to de­liver on the Govern­ment’s own am­bi­tion of mak­ing the UK the best coun­try in the world for avi­a­tion. In or­der to achieve this lofty goal, we need to sort out how our airspace is shared out. Cur­rently it feels like there is too lit­tle min­is­te­rial or par­lia­men­tary in­put on defin­ing the airspace pol­icy and rules. In a democ­racy this can­not be right, and this in­quiry is de­signed to study the ev­i­dence, make rec­om­men­da­tions, en­cour­age min­is­ters to re­spond pos­i­tively and if nec­es­sary par­lia­men­tar­i­ans may choose to in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion to en­act our find­ings.”

Lord Kirkhope of Har­row­gate will chair the APPG'S hear­ings at West­min­ster

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