Having your say
In contemplating any airspace change proposal, a change sponsor must consider the impacts on others and the implications those impacts may have and engage with them appropriately. Detailed guidance is available in CAP 1616. At certain points in the process, the change sponsor, or the CAA, will seek feedback from stakeholders. As it will subsequently be published, what you say must be appropriate for publication (see our guidance on moderation within CAP 1616f, Guidance on Airspace Change Process for Permanent Airspace Change Proposals).
The following is relevant to version 5 of the CAP1616 airspace change process, which came into force on 2 January 2024. For more information on the improvements made to the airspace change process, please visit the Airspace Change Process webpage. For further information on transition arrangements, please see the CAP1616 review webpage. Although the requirements vary depending on the type or level of the airspace change proposal, the stages at which feedback may be sought from stakeholders are summarised below:
Stage 1: Define and Stage 2: Develop and Assess
It is important that early on in the formulation of the airspace change proposal, the change sponsor takes on board the views of those likely to be affected. Engagement during Stages 1 and 2 will generally take place with key representatives of affected stakeholders, rather than with the wider public. This may include elected community representatives, airport consultative committees, directly affected local aviation stakeholders and aviation/non-aviation national organisations. To pass the first two gateways, the CAA must be satisfied that the change sponsor has undertaken effective two-way engagement with relevant stakeholders and that the outputs adequately reflect the feedback collated.
Stage 3: Consult/Engage
During Stage 3, the change sponsor gathers information in order to understand stakeholders’ views about the impact of its airspace change proposal. Whether this requires a full consultation or a scaled form of consultation - engagement - will depend on the scale and impacts of the airspace change proposal.
A consultation will be hosted on the Citizen Space consultations hub and any interested party can submit a response. All consultation responses will be published, anonymously where requested, and the change sponsor must produce documentation which demonstrates how they have categorised the consultation responses and how the responses have / have not influenced the final airspace change proposal.
Engagement at Stage 3 of the airspace change process still requires the change sponsor to understand stakeholders’ views about the impact of an airspace change proposal. However, it is usually aimed at a more targeted audience, is less formal and may adhere to a less strict timetable.
Stage 5: Decide
For an airspace change proposal concerning a permanent change to the notified airspace design, the CAA will open a 28-day feedback window, within which anyone can request via this website that the final decision is made by the Secretary of State rather than by the CAA. Only the more significant changes can be ‘called-in’ in this way, and the Secretary of State is not obliged to call in a proposal.
You can find more information about how call-in works on this page.
The CAA may also convene a public evidence session and/or publish a draft decision for Level 1 proposals, when it is proportionate to do so.
Stage 6: Implementation - Complaints (Temporary Airspace Changes & Airspace Trials Only)
When a temporary change to the notified airspace design is implemented or an Airspace Trial is underway, the change sponsor is required to review and collate feedback, including complaints, from affected stakeholders.
Feedback and complaints are an important part of the temporary airspace change and airspace trial process, as it allows the change sponsor to identify design issues and determine whether or not the outcomes are as expected and/or whether they are affecting the areas anticipated.
Feedback and complaints can result in urgent investigation by the CAA if it:
- contains new information on environmental impacts that differs significantly from what was proposed or expected.
- contains evidence of significant health effects that are not being mitigated.
- contains information relating to operational issues, including safety issues, that have not previously been identified.
- for trial airspace changes only, the trial is not meeting its objectives
Noise complaints not directly associated with an ongoing airspace change proposal should be made using CAA Form FCS 1521.
Stage 7: Post Implementation Review
A post implementation review must be completed for all Level 1 airspace change proposals. It will only be completed for Level 2 and Level 3 airspace change proposal when the CAA determines that it is proportionate to do so.
For those airspace change proposals where a post implementation review is completed, around one year after implementation there will be a 28-day feedback window within which any interested party can provide feedback on how the impacts of the airspace change compare with what was expected. The CAA will consider this feedback in its post-implementation review, which examines how the airspace change has performed and considers whether it has, or has not, produced the intended outcomes.
Engaging with the CAA through the Airspace Change Process
Engagement is a key pillar of the CAP1616 Airspace Change Process. However, as the airspace regulator and primary decision-maker, it is important that the CAA strikes a balance between the transparency of the process and our independence as a decision maker. We are therefore not able to substantively respond to queries or comments in relation to any specific aspect of an airspace change proposal, outside of the appropriate points in the CAP1616 process.
The opportunities throughout the process where stakeholders can engage directly with the Civil Aviation Authority:
- Stage 5 – You may be able to attend a Public Evidence Session.
- Stage 5 – You may be able to submit feedback on the CAA’s draft decision on the airspace change proposal.
- Stage 7 – You may be able to submit feedback on the impact of an airspace change for the CAA to consider in its Post Implementation Review.