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Farnborough Airspace Change

The history of Farnborough aerodrome and how it became Europe’s largest private jet airport is here. The increase in the number of flights is a planning process and the airport currently has a licence for up to 50,000 flights a year (there are time and weight restrictions). It is currently at maximum capacity at weekends. With the increase in flights, new controlled airspace was required. A separate process known as an Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) was initiated by the CAA. It started in 2014 with a public consultation and it was done poorly. People impacted were not consulted, councils that asked questions were ignored and baseline information such as aircraft noise was not collected. FNG conducted a review of the consultation documentation which is here.

Farnborough Airspace Change Programme

CURRENT AIRSPACE

CURRENT AIRSPACE

The proposed airspace changes following the consultation were formally challenged by Lasham Gliding Club but they were rejected by the Secretary of State on the basis that the airspace changes would benefit Farnborough Airport and other airspace users, improve safety and reduce noise impact on the local population. None of these objectives have been achieved other than those benefiting Farnborough Airport. The conclusion is documented in CAP1678.

 

The new airspace was delayed because of Covid and was finally implemented in February 2020. People near the airport who previously did not experience much aircraft noise suddenly had a lot more aircraft flying over them, at lower height. Private jet flights were only slightly impacted by covid restrictions (as commercial airports were closed down) and flights continued, even during the full lockdowns.

A year long Post Implementation Review (PIR) was the final stage of the ACP. The objective of the PIR is to assess if the benefits that were considered in CAP1678 have been achieved. The PIR started on 1st April 2022 and ended on 31st March 2023. The scope of the PIR was agreed between the CAA and FAL – it is a process that is akin to setting the exam questions then marking your own paper. Pollution and emissions have not been measured. Nor has noise, even though the CEO of the CAA committed, in writing, to our MPs that noise would be measured. There has been no noise measurement (apart from at the airport) through the entire ACP process so the CAA has no data to assess if people are being impacted by noise and by how much. This frustration at the railroading of valid public concerns is what resulted in Farnborough Noise Group being established.

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