Air traffic demand is expected to continue growing. However, noise –particularly around airports – may have significant impact on citizens’ health.
In parallel to proposed measures for increasing airport capacity, the European Commission has tabled a proposal for a Regulation aimed at revising the rules on restricting operations at an EU airport because of noise.
The proposal would facilitate the elimination of the noisiest aircraft. It would improve and harmonise the noise assessment process as well as the procedure to be followed when competent authorities balance air transport needs with noise-protection requirements and decide on setting noise-related operating restrictions at an airport.
The Commission has also proposed it should have the right to scrutinise this process before such a restriction is implemented. And if the proposed Regulation were not respected, the Commission would also have the power to suspend a decision taken by the competent authorities to limit operations at an airport.
This latter proposal has triggered strong objections. For many, such a right of scrutiny for the Commission is not in line with the EU principle of subsidiarity. The Commission is also seen by some as putting economic considerations above all others.