CAA to have an Environmental Sustainability Panel, to advise it, from April

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is creating a new Environmental Sustainability Panel, from April 2022.  It will act as an expert ‘critical friend’ of the organisation and will provide technical advice. The intention is that it will ensure that environmental and “sustainability” interests are properly considered by CAA when it makes decisions. This will be an internal body, not public facing.  The CAA is recruiting members for the panel, which will help the CAA to take proper account of the “environmental interests and impacts in its regulatory policy and framework.” As the government decided in September 2021 to close the ICCAN (Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise) the CAA will have more duties relating to aircraft noise and the impact it has on people overflown.  In the vain attempt to reduce the negative environmental impact of air travel, the CAA hopes to “balance” the need to reduce carbon emissions (ie. fuel burn) with the amount of aircraft noise. The panel will follow the model of the CAA’s existing Consumer Panel. 


UK Civil Aviation Authority set to create new Environmental Sustainability Panel

11th January 2022

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is creating a new Environmental Sustainability Panel. The panel will act as an expert ‘critical friend’ of the organisation and will provide technical advice to make sure environmental and sustainability interests are properly considered when the CAA is working to improve aviation’s sustainability.

The CAA has today begun an open application process to select members for the new panel. The panel’s key activities include:

  • Provision of expert technical advice to support the CAA’s environmental roles, or on specific tasks as requested by the CAA
  • Helping the CAA to understand and take account of environmental interests and impacts in its regulatory policy and framework.
  • Supporting progress towards the CAA’s strategic focus on improving environmental performance, including informing delivery of the CAA’s forthcoming environmental sustainability strategy
  • Providing advice or critique on research undertaken by the CAA, or helping identify where further research may be needed to inform the CAA’s sustainability agenda

The CAA has a number of roles, one of which is to support the aviation industry as it looks to manage and reduce its negative environmental impacts, including emissions and noise. Following the Government’s decision to wind down the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) at the end of September 2021, the CAA is now also set to take on several new functions on noise by 1 April 2022.

Nic Stevenson, Head of Strategy for the Civil Aviation Authority said, “The Environmental Sustainability Panel will play an important role in helping us understand and address the important environmental issues facing aviation, including our new functions on noise. The success of this panel will depend on the quality of its membership, and through this recruitment process we hope to find panel members who are informed, in touch and expert. We look forward to working with the Panel members in a constructive and collegiate way.”

The CAA has partnered with Green Park to identify leading talent to sit on the Panel, which will follow the model of the CAA’s existing Consumer Panel. Engagement was undertaken with a range of stakeholders to shape the types of skills necessary for the Panel to confront the sustainability.

To learn more about the Environmental Sustainability Panel please visit the recruitment page at



As the UK’s independent, specialist civil aviation regulator, the CAA enables and holds industry to account for high standards of safety and security of aviation and consumer protection for the benefit of consumers and the public. We constantly challenge ourselves and our stakeholders to improve safety, security and consumer protection outcomes and strive to be a diverse, innovative, and future-focused regulator dedicated to enabling thriving aviation and aerospace sectors.

The new CAA Sustainability Panel will be a small specialist body providing expert technical advice to the CAA as it develops policy and positions in delivery of its environmental roles.

The Sustainability Panel

The Panel will be operational from April 2022 and the main responsibilities and initial focus of the Chair and panel members will include:

  • Strengthening the CAA’s sustainability roles and ambitions through providing technical advice on the delivery of the CAA’s new Sustainability Strategy
  • Providing technical expertise to support analysis into trade-offs between carbon, noise and air quality and other factors from an aviation perspective
  • Informing the CAA’s ambition to increase transparency around the publication of environmental performance, including regular reporting on aviation noise in the UK
  • Provision of technical advice to support the development of ‘Best Practice’ guides on managing environmental impacts including noise and carbon


Note from GATCOM  20.1.2022

• The CAA confirmed the following points:

o The CAA already performs a number of different roles in relation to the environmental impact of aviation – its regulatory functions including airspace modernisation and the airspace change process; its commercial functions (noise modelling and monitoring for a range of clients including Government and airports); and its advice functions which is where the new functions from ICCAN will sit.

o The CAA is creating a Sustainability Team within its Strategy Department reflecting the CAA’s and Government’s perspective that aviation’s environmental impact is a holistic systems issue. The new Team will look at cross cutting impacts.

o The new functions include research into the effects of noise, best practice guidance and the provision of transparent information. The CAA is also taking on ICCAN’s commitment to refresh the survey of noise attitudes. Discussions continue with the DfT on the other specific ICCAN initiatives/work to be taken forward by the CAA.

o An Environmental Sustainability Panel will be established to advise the CAA, similar to the CAA’s Consumer Panel. It will provide the CAA with expert advice, with technical support, to ensure sustainability and environmental interests are taken fully into account in the CAA’s work. It was noted that aviation’s environmental impact was complicated, deep and multi-faceted.

o The new Panel’s independence was paramount to its success but it would not publicly campaign nor will it deal with individual complaints from the public, represent or correspond directly with air travellers, industry or community groups.

o Recruitment of staff and the Panel members and its Chair has begun. An external recruitment agency has been appointed to lead the recruitment process for the Panel members. The agency has already engaged with a number of stakeholders including some environmental/community groups, UKACCs and the DfT on the types of skills, competencies and capabilities required of Panel members and its Chair.

o The new team, functions and Panel will be in place by 1 April 2022