Aviation is a global business with many international airlines operating at UK airports and flying overhead through UK airspace. Some effects such as CO2 emissions can have a global impact by contributing to climate change, and action in the UK alone would not stop this. Instead, impacts like this must be addressed internationally.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialist agency of the United Nations set up to define international safety, environmental and operating standards for civil aviation. Currently more than 190 countries are members, and aviation rules in each of these follow ICAO standards and recommended practices.
ICAO has developed or is developing standards, policies and guidance around the following environmentally-related issues:
- aircraft noise
- aircraft engine emissions
- operating procedures
- organisation of air traffic movements
- airport land use planning
- use of market-based measures to tackle CO2 emissions.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has produced guidelines for community noise for national governments to consider when developing policy. The WHO regional office for Europe has taken this further by developing guidelines for night noise.
Founded in 1955 as an intergovernmental organisation, the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) seeks to harmonise civil aviation policies and practices amongst its Member States and, at the same time, promote understanding on policy matters between its Member States and other parts of the world. ECAC is currently composed on 44 Member States, including the UK.
ECAC's mission is the promotion of the continued development of a safe, efficient and sustainable European air transport system.
ECAC has established environment as one of its key priorities, conscious that the environmental impacts of the aviation sector must be mitigated if aviation is to continue to be successful as an important facilitator of sustainable development.
EUROCONTROL is a pan-European, civil-military organisation dedicated to supporting European aviation. It helps optimise the overall European air traffic management and network performance for 41 member States , including the UK. For more information on its environmental work, please visit EUROCONTROL’s environmental pages.