Eurocontrol Publishes Airport Environmental Guidance

 - October 16, 2014, 3:40 PM
Compliance with Eurocontrol's Collaborative Environmental Management specification is voluntary, the agency says. (Photo: Eurocontrol)

Eurocontrol has published a “high level, generic protocol” airport stakeholders can follow to jointly manage airport noise and emissions issues. The agency will formally launch the collaborative environmental management (CEM) specification at the Airports Council International 2014 Airport Exchange conference, which will be held November 3-5 in Paris.

Several years in development, the CEM specification serves to formalize collaboration among "core" stakeholders—airport operators, airlines and air navigation service providers (Ansps)—and sets out requirements and recommended practices necessary to establish working arrangements. It supports stakeholders’ “common awareness and understanding of the interdependencies and constraints facing each other’s business,” when confronted with the environmental impacts of air traffic operations.

“The first thing to state about the specification is it is voluntary. There is no enforcement by Eurocontrol or the European Union,” said Andrew Watt, Eurocontrol head of environment. It would be difficult for a European-wide organization to impose requirements on airports for local noise and air quality issues, he added. What the CEM specification does is lay out a “process” that stakeholders can follow, for example, to renew environmental permits, build new infrastructure or introduce new procedures such as continuous descent approaches.

“We have fairly good anecdotal evidence that at times they don’t necessarily cooperate as well as they could,” Watt said. “That means that maybe one of them takes an initiative for very good reasons, but maybe forgets to inform (the others)” and the initiative fails. “We know that there are a number of airports in Europe in which the three organizations cooperate extremely well, and using that as an example we’ve developed this specification.”

Specific airports, Ansps, regulatory authorities and trade organizations including the International Air Transport Association and Airports Council International (ACI) support the specification, which complements ACI’s airport carbon accreditation scheme, Watt said.

While voluntary, the specification is nevertheless an official Eurocontrol document. Under the agency’s notice of proposed rulemaking process, it was subject to a formal comment period last year that extended from September 29 to November 29. The agency held a consultation workshop in May at which a negotiated text was agreed, becoming version 1.0 of the specification. “It’s gone through an official Eurocontrol process,” Watt said. “It’s out in the public domain and people can use it or not as they wish.”

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Eurocontrol Collaborative Environmental Management specification (1.2MB)

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