Review for major air body

GOVERNMENT officials have ordered a strategic review of the body which regulates Britain's air industry to make sure it can cope with future growth in air travel.

GOVERNMENT officials have ordered a strategic review of the body which regulates Britain's air industry to make sure it can cope with future growth in air travel.

While satisfied with the overall operation of the Civil Aviation Authority, ministers say the authority is facing fresh challenges with the air traffic set to double in the next 20 years.

As well as the duties it already has, the CAA may be asked to take a greater role in environmental issues - with growing concern over the effect of jet planes on pollution.

Secretary of state for transport Ruth Kelly has appointed Sir Joseph Pilling to lead an independent strategic review of the CAA and consultation is currently taking place.


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Organisations or individuals with an interest in the CAA have until December 20 to give their views.

The CAA is a specialist aviation regulator and its activities include economic regulation, airspace policy, safety regulation and consumer protection.

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When airspace over Suffolk is revamped in 2009 - which is likely to increase dramatically the number of planes flying over parts of the county in the next decade - it will be the CAA which has the final say on whether the changes take place.

Agreement for the review followed a recommendation by the House of Commons Transport Committee.

“While operating generally well against its remit, our inquiry identified a number of challenges for the CAA resulting from the ongoing development of the UK aviation sector,” the committee said.

The review will be completed next year and be made public.

A Department of Transport spokesman said the main focus of the review will be economic and environmental challenges of the future, aviation industry developments, and changes in international aviation regulation.

It would also examine the functions and responsibilities of the CAA, how it runs, its relationship with government and those it regulates.

“The review will make recommendations to Ministers about the structure and functions of the CAA, and will also look for ideas as to how the way the CAA carries out its functions can be improved for the future,” he said.

Do you think more planes should be allowed to fly over Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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