play_circle_filled In progress

Economy Economy

Use technology to manage our airspace better

Last updated: 02:38pm 1 October 2019

…and we will use technology to manage our airspace better to reduce noise pollution and improve capacity.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.81

Our verdict

The demand for commercial air transport in the UK is expected to increase by 2% every year, reaching 3.25 million flights in 2030. As demand grows, passenger delays and cancellation costs rise. However, increased airspace capacity will expose more citizens to aviation noise, causing annoyance and leading to poor mental health conditions. The manifesto promised to use technology to reduce noise pollution and improve capacity.

In October 2017, the Department for Transport published its response to the consultation on airspace reform started by the previous government in February 2017. This set out a range of proposals, including backing the construction of a new runway at Heathrow, supporting other airports in making best use of existing capacity, changing the aviation noise compensation policy, and improving  assessment of noise pollution.

In December 2018, following a round of consultations, the government published a green paper on the new aviation strategy, and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published the Airspace Modernisation Strategy, to prepare a coordinated plan.

Following this, in May 2019 the government finalised the reform strategy in the Airspace Modernisation Guidance. Changes will have to be agreed in statutory consultations involving all stakeholders, with oversight from the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority.

The government is engaging in consultations aimed at fulfilling this promise, so this policy is ‘in progress’. We will consider it ‘done’ once we have evidence that technologies have been adopted to “reduce noise pollution and improve capacity”. Follow this policy for updates.

Want the detail? 

There's always room for debate

We’re serious about providing clear, up-to-date, non-partisan information. We focus on being consistent and fair in how we reach our verdicts, and always explain our reasoning. But there is always room for debate. So if you see it differently, we’d love you to tell us why. Or even better, submit an edit.