CAA produces its consultation on its statutory duty to provide information (including environmental information)

The CAA has launched its consultation on the implementation of its new statutory duty to provide information. The various consultation papers can be found on the CAA’s website. The CAA says that under the Civil Aviation Act 2012, it has “new duties and powers to provide information to users of air transport to assist them in comparing services and facilities, and to the general public about the environmental impact of aviation.” However, it seems that the CAA is adopting a minimalist and inadequate approach to the provision of environmental information – which is disappointing. It had been hoped that the CAA might have agreed to take its new duty to provide environmental information more seriously. However, the CAA is asking if it should develop a standardised methodology for calculating CO2 emissions – more accurate than those offered by airlines –  and presenting it to consumers so they can assess flight emissions. The consultation closes on 31 August and the CAA will publish its final Statement of Policy in Winter 2013.


CAA Consultation – Better Information about UK aviation: the CAA’s new publication duties

Under the Civil Aviation Act 2012, the CAA has new duties and powers to provide information to users of air transport to assist them in comparing services and facilities, and to the general public about the environmental impact of aviation. The CAA is consulting on its proposed Statement of Policy for the use of its information powers.



Below are some of the mentions of the environment in the

The Civil Aviation Act 2012 provides that:

ƒƒOn the environment, the CAA must publish, or arrange for others
to publish, such information as it feels is appropriate relating to the
environmental effects of civil aviation in the UK. Again, the CAA may
publish guidance with a view to mitigating adverse environmental

– – – – –

It is the second principle that has most bearing on the CAA’s new
duty to provide information about aviation services and facilities to
consumers, and information about the environmental impact of aviation
both to consumers and the public at large.

– – – – –

Information objectives

…..  to put more, and more accessible and comprehensible, information in the public domain about the effects of aviation on the environment;

ƒƒindirectly (through informing people and potentially creating pressure
on industry) and directly (through guidance and advice) to improve
performance in services and reduce adverse environmental effects.

– – – – –

Strategic objectives

…… ƒto improve environmental performance through more efficient use of airspace and make an efficient contribution to reducing the aviation industry’s environmental impacts;

– – – – –

CAA and the environment

The CAA considers information as a vital part of its work to enhance
incentives and metrics in its effort to improve the environmental
sustainability of the aviation sector. We anticipate that the provision of
information on the environment will help to encourage consumers to
factor the environment into their choices and incentivise the sector to
improve its environmental performance.

In 2010 the CAA published CAA and the Environment5. This document
predated the Civil Aviation Act 2012, but captured the CAA’s work in
preparation for the CAA’s new information powers receiving Royal
Assent. Much of the work set out has been completed as part of the
process of developing this Statement of Policy, and on environmental
information, the CAA and the Environment programme will continue to
oversee this work as it is taken forward.

– – – – –

The Accent research also found that consumers place lower level
of importance on environmental information than information about
services and facilities available to them when choosing a flight. Only
13% of consumers stated that having access to information about the
environmental impact of the flight they were booking (including carbon)
is “very important” and 25% of consumers viewed this information as
“quite important”

Regarding environmental information, on the basis of the literature
reviewed, MVA concluded that broad community tolerance of
civil aviation requires confidence that all options for managing the
environmental impacts of aviation – e.g. aircraft noise, pollution and
other concerns – have been examined and an equitable outcome
adopted. UK airports are encouraged to provide their communities
with ready access to information concerning airport operations, flight
paths and noise management strategies. With recent advances in flight
tracking, and the growth of the internet, it is relatively simple to provide
ready access to aircraft noise information by showing the location of
flight paths and the numbers and times  of aircraft movements, as well as sound levels for single events.

– – – – –

Most people wanted information so that they could make more
informed judgements on environmental issues both locally and
nationally. They also wanted information so that they could judge
whether aircraft activity had increased, or not; and to provide a
benchmark in case there was a push for expansion at a nearby airport.
A third reason for wanting environmental information was so that they
could judge for themselves the impact of moving near to an airport in

– – – –

The UK’s Civil Aircraft Noise Contour Model is employed by the CAA’s
Environmental Research and Consultancy Department (ERCD) to
produce noise contour maps for some UK airports. Noise contours for
Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, produced by ERCD under contract,
are available from the Department for Transport website27.

– – – – –

Almost every major airport publishes some type of annual
environmental impact statement, either as a standalone document,
or as part of a wider annual report. For example, both Heathrow29
and Bristol30 airports make information about their environmental
impact available to consumers, but, as they contain slightly
different information, set out in different formats, and make use of
different metrics in some instances, the information provided is not
easily comparable. Other airports publish little data on their actual
environmental impact, but do make available information about their
environmental policies (e.g. London Luton Airport31)
3.67 On the airline side, a lack of standardised reporting also makes direct
comparison of environmental impact difficult or impossible. Reporting
tends to be in different areas, with some airlines publishing specific
environmental reports each year while others cover environmental
performance as part of annual reports or Corporate Social Responsibility statements.


———–  and much more……

There is one question on environment:

Q.3 Do you agree with the findings of the evidence base that the CAA has
provided in support of its view that the general public would benefit from
the provision of more information about the environmental impact of aviation
(including that from other regulators and government agencies, summarised in
Appendix G)?

On carbon emissions it asks:

Do you agree that Option 3 is the most appropriate way to aid the
standardisation of CO2 information for air travellers? Please provide your

[Option 3 is “The CAA to develop a standardised methodology for calculating CO2 emissions and presenting it to consumers” with all the detail about it on Page 99 of  Consultation on the CAA;s new publication duties

see also Page 14 of the CAA consultation summary on carbon emissions calculator