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National Parks: Aviation

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to protect national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty from the effects of aircraft noise pollution. (203292)

DEFRA has no formal role to play in how airspace is utilised. The Civil Aviation Authority is charged with scrutinising airspace change proposals and reaching a decision on them, balancing all the competing interests. I understand that Department for Transport guidance requires the Civil Aviation Authority to be rigorous in identifying and reviewing all significant environmental effects of airspace changes, and to notify the Secretary of State for Transport should an airspace change have a significant detrimental effect on the environment.

However, I recently asked my officials to write to the Civil Aviation Authority to remind it of its duty to have regard to the purposes of the National Parks under the provisions of section 11A(2) of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, and the purpose of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty under the provisions of section 85 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.