Participation in the development of an RTHA airport operation decree
Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA) must submit an application to the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment for a new airport operation decree.
What is an airport operation decree?
The airport operation decree establishes the location of an airport, the length and width of the runway, and the air traffic using the airport. An airport operation decree also contains the rules and limit values that the airport must adhere to.
Why is RTHA applying for a new airport operation decree?
Until 1 May 2013, RTHA operated on the basis of a designation decree under the Aviation Act. On 1 May 2013, the designation decree was replaced by a so-called transposition regulation. From that moment onwards, the new regime for civil airports, as included in Chapter 8 of the Aviation Act, shall apply to RTHA. This transposition regulation shall be replaced by a completely new and comprehensive airport operation decree based on the Aviation Act.
What does RTHA want to achieve with the airport operation decree?
According to the national government, RTHA is one of the airports of national significance. The government wants the development of RTHA to keep pace with the development of the region in which it is located. The scale of the airport must be in line with the needs of all stakeholders in the region. The link between the airport and regional authorities, residents, and the business community must be strengthened. The airport aims to be regionally embedded and to fit in with its region in terms of the economy, spatial planning, and the environment.
Environmental Impact Assessment Report & Memorandum on Scope and Level of Detail
RTHA is having an Environmental Impact Assessment Report drawn up for the application for the airport operation decree. The Environmental Impact Assessment Report describes the effects of the airport operation decree on the environment and any compensatory measures. First, a Memorandum on Scope and Level of Detail is required, which describes what will be included and investigated in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report.
During RTHA’s airport operation decree process, there are two forms of participation: some statutory periods and numerous additional opportunities. By law, there are fixed moments in the participation process for submitting official reactions to various important elements in the airport operation decree process. A reaction is called a viewpoint. In a viewpoint, one writes down what one thinks of certain points in the publication and why. Both the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIR) & Memorandum on the Scope and Level of Detail (NRD) and the draft Airport Operation Decree will be made available for public inspection at various times and will be open to public comments. Viewpoints may be submitted until six weeks after publication. People who submit a viewpoint always receive a personal communication regarding the processing. In addition, during the formal process, the Ministry also requests advice from various legal advisers and the EIR Committee.
Additional forms of participation
RTHA feels that the statutory process, which includes only an NRD, EIR, and application for an airport operation decree, is too limited in terms of proper consultation with the local community about the future of the airport. As the initiating party, the airport wants to ensure a careful participation process in the search for broad support. Before the start of the legal process and the formal participation stages, the airport is therefore organising its own participation process in the first phase of the process. With a view to regional support and better decision-making, the airport thus aims to get interests, opinions, and facts on the table in good time and to arrive at sound considerations with all those involved.
All stakeholders in the vicinity of the airport are welcome to contribute their ideas. RTHA wants to reach a good balance in cooperation with its surroundings. That is why we want to gather knowledge and carry out analyses together. We call this Joint Fact Finding. We do this by actively involving parties in our participation process in various ways. Participation in this phase can take place in various ways: participating, consulting, and informing.
In the first phase of the project, we assembled a group with representatives of the main stakeholders. These members represent the general social interest and actively participate in important steps of the process. Through various subcommittees, participants become informed and contribute ideas from their own perspectives. Subsequently, the airport wants to work out potential scenarios with this group, make decisions, and develop a preferred scenario.
We organize working sessions with experts from numerous fields. In this way, we want to gather and use as much knowledge as possible from our environment. The experts are assigned to different subcommittees based on their demonstrated expertise.
In this process, RTHA feels responsible for proper communication with its surroundings. For example, the airport has a new website specifically for the forthcoming airport operation decree and the process behind it. In addition, RTHA organises living room discussions, walk-in evenings, and master classes in which they explain to interested parties about subjects that are important in the research. Interested parties are also kept informed of progress in the project through various channels. If you have questions or suggestions, you can always contact the project team. This team is focused on the appropriate implementation.
Environmental Impact Assessment Report describes the effects on the environment
RTHA is having an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIR) drawn up for the airport operation decree application. This report describes the effects of the airport operation decree on the environment, such as noise levels, CO2 emissions, and nitrogen deposition. The EIR also describes any compensatory measures. Prior to the EIR, a Memorandum on the Scope and Level of Detail (NRD) is drawn up, describing what will be included and investigated in the EIR.
Decision-making process by the Ministry
By law, there are fixed moments in every decision-making process for submitting official reactions to various important constituents in the process. The NRD, the EIR, and the draft airport operation decree will be made available for inspection at different times, and these documents will be open to public inspection by interested parties, such as local residents. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is responsible for this formal process.
Rotterdam The Hague Airport is initiating the participation process in support of a new airport operation decree. Go to www.luchthavenbesluit.nl for more information about this participation process. You may also watch a video about the process here.