Prior to the introduction of CAP1616 Airspace Change, the CAA applied CAP725. There are some ongoing airspace change proposals that are being processed under CAP725. These are available to view on our website, ongoing CAP725 airspace change proposals.
How we developed the CAP1616 airspace change process
In 2015, we started reviewing our airspace change process and undertook nearly three years of detailed work and two public consultations.
You can view our consultation and responses we received (consultation now closed). Our detailed analysis of all of the responses and recommendations we received is available in our report Outcome of the CAA consultation on draft airspace design guidance (CAP1615).
The consultation documentation comprised the draft guidance document itself, a draft environmental technical annex to the guidance, a separate document about a new category of airspace change (known as 'Tier 2') which the Government discussed in its consultation, and a pdf version of the our consultation document and questions.
Our 2017 consultation on the guidance material followed a consultation we held in 2016 on the principles of the new process and an independent review conducted by consultants Helios in 2015.
On 13 December 2017 we launched CAP1616 Airspace Change. The process was effective from January 2018.
The transition from CAP725 to CAP1616
The Department for Transport (DfT) and CAA worked closely to introduce the new airspace policy framework (UK air navigation guidance 2017 and directions) and airspace change process (CAP1616) for those wanting to change the design of UK airspace and agreed the transition arrangements below.
We have decided that it is in the public interest if sponsors consider a full range of options before developing, consulting and proposing an airspace change.
Consequently, following further consultation between the CAA and the DfT, we have agreed that anyone wishing to change the design of UK airspace who had not launched their public consultation on their proposal before 2 January 2018 will be assessed against the new policy framework and change process (CAP1616). The only exception to this is Carlisle Airport, which was prepared for consultation before Christmas 2017 and subject to confirmation, does not meet a defined noise threshold. Given this, the CAA agreed to a delay in the start of the consultation until the new year to ensure best practice.
All future Post Implementation Reviews will be conducted in accordance with the process requirements of CAP1616. However, when assessing the expected impacts against the actual impacts we will use the methodology applied at the time of the original decision (either UK air navigation guidance 2014 or 2017).
This position is a clarification to the transition policy (the CAA stated it would be flexible with those on the cusp of this transition date, and now we are clarifying what that means for specific airspace changes).
The CAA understands this is likely to be frustrating for some of those who understood, following CAA approval, that they could follow the previous airspace change process (CAP 725). While the result of this announcement will require more work from those looking to change the design of UK airspace, we will take into account work that has been completed that meets the requirements of the new policy framework and process.
Government transition arrangements
Paragraphs 6.10 and 6.11 of the Air Navigation Guidance 2017 sets out the Government’s transition arrangements:
6.10 Although the call-in process will apply to such proposals, the existing airspace change arrangements, including the need to follow the Air Navigation Guidance 2014, would otherwise apply to any change proposal which had already been consulted on at the time of publication of this guidance, although sponsors of such proposals should be encouraged to follow the new arrangements where it is practicable to do so. 29
6.11 The CAA is encouraged to consult the SofS if it considers there is any doubt as regards whether the Air Navigation Guidance 2017 may apply to an ongoing airspace change proposal which has yet to be submitted formally to the CAA for approval.
Change sponsors needing further guidance about transition arrangements should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have previously consulted on how we will deal with airspace change proposals which are already part way through the airspace change process when the new process takes effect. The outcome of that consultation was that:
- any proposal where formal consultation has yet to commence by the time the new process takes effect (and which therefore corresponds to Stage 1, Stage 2 or Steps 3A/3B of Stage 3 in the new process) should adhere to the new process from the date that the new process takes effect, to the extent that this is feasible and reasonable, and
- we will not mandate new elements of the new process for any proposal should formal consultation already have commenced by the time the new process takes effect (and is therefore at Step 3C in the new process or later).
Sponsors who started an airspace change proposal before the new CAA process and associated guidance were adopted should demonstrate to us that they have the new process in mind and have taken it into account, even though we are not requiring the new process be followed for changes that had commenced the Stage 4 consultation (under the old CAP 725 process) before 2 January 2018.
Where the change sponsor is on the cusp of where we draw the line between the old and new process, we will give consideration to requests made to us be flexible in terms of the applicable process as set out above.
Change proposals which were already part way through the airspace change process when the new process took effect and for whom it is not feasible or reasonable for the sponsor to adhere to all or certain elements of CAP1616 may request to apply the old process as appropriate, which the CAA will consider on a case-by-case basis.
Change sponsors should therefore now be considering what additional action may be required to align any proposals with the new process. We will discuss individual cases with the change sponsor concerned and publish any agreed position.
We will be conducting all future Post Implementation Reviews in accordance with the process requirements of CAP1616 the new process. However, when assessing the expected impacts against the actual impacts we will use the methodology adopted current at the time of the original decision in order to do so.
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