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Air Routes: Heathrow Airport

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has held with the Civil Aviation Authority on routes for departures from Heathrow Airport. (206953)

Planning and regulation of all UK airspace is the responsibility of the independent aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority. The process for making changes to airspace is governed by the CAA's Airspace Change Process. Under this process it is for an airspace change sponsor to develop and consult upon proposals. It is then for the CAA to assess proposals against regulatory requirements and either approve or reject them.

In accordance with this process, on 21 February NATS launched a consultation on its proposals for changes to Terminal Control North airspace. These proposals include changes to departure routes from Heathrow Airport heading to the north and north east.

As part of the regulatory process the CAA might consider seeking the Secretary of State's views on environmental aspects of the proposals and may seek her approval for the change. It would therefore be premature and inappropriate for the Secretary of State, or any other member of this Department, to discuss the specifics of the proposal with the CAA, or any other party, whilst it is subject to the rigours of the independent Airspace Change process.