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2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 317/31

Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on the ‘Communication from the Commission to the
Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the
Regions on Air Transport and the Environment: Towards meeting the Challenges of Sustainable

(2000/C 317/11)


having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the
Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Air Transport and the Environment
— Towards meeting the challenges of sustainable development (COM (1999) 640 final);

having regard to the decision taken by the Commission on 8 December 1999, under the first paragraph
of Article 265 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, to consult the Committee of the
Regions on the matter;

having regard to the decision by the Bureau on 2 June 1999, which directs Commission 4 — Spatial
Planning, Urban Issues, Energy and Environment — in liaison with Commission 3 — Trans-European
Networks, Transport and the Information Society, to draw up the relevant opinion;

having regard to the contribution of Commission 3 — Trans-European networks, transport, information

society (Rapporteur: J. Walsh, UK, ELDR), and

having regard to the draft opinion (CdR 14/2000 rev. 2) adopted by Commission 4 on 11 May 2000
(Rapporteurs: J. Soares, P, PSE and J. Walsh, UK, ELDR),

adopted the following Opinion at its 34th plenary session (meeting of 14 June) on 14 and 15 June 2000

1. Views and recommendations concerning the Com- be understood by users) to offer a choice to travellers wishing
munication to fly in the best environmentally-friendly way.

1.4. In respect of the study of environmental charges,

1.1. The Committee of the Regions endorses the approach emission trading and carbon offsets, the approach must not be
and the Actions proposed in the Communication subject to taken that polluters can pay to pollute. Charging by regulation
the inclusion in the study of additional ‘Actions’ and the or any other means is only a palliative.
consideration of other identified matters as set out below.

1.5. Night-time noise, not only from aircraft but all the
1.2. The work programme should contain targets which associated transport activity, is a concern affecting people
are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timetabled living near airports. Guidance should be given on this issue in
(Smart) and the implications of failing to achieve policy goals addition to general guidance to assist land-use planning. Grants
should be considered. for the expansion or construction of airports should reflect
land-use policies and their implementation together with the
powers that airport owners possess in respect of adjoining
land uses. This should also contain a call for airport operators
to fund soundproofing measures (soundproof windows and
1.3. The identification of measures to minimise worsening ventilation equipment) in residential areas severely affected by
air-quality conditions for people living or working near to aircraft noise.
airports should be treated as a priority. This could include the
introduction of a categorisation system of aircraft by their
emission levels, in the same way as for noise, to facilitate the
introduction of regulatory controls (to penalise the worst and 1.6. The importance of improved procedures related to
reward those airlines operating less polluting aircraft). Airlines both air-traffic control and ground handling of aircraft (taxiing
should be encouraged to publish details of their aircrafts’ and queuing) has a major impact on the local environment at
performance in environmental and current terms (which can an airport. Best practice advice should be offered.
C 317/32 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 6.11.2000

1.7. The COR believes that airports should be encouraged guidance. The imposition of local taxation or charging arrange-
to introduce environmental management systems to evaluate ments may well be appropriate. In order to improve the
all types of environmental impact. The examination of the role environment in areas near airports it is important to reduce
of agreements between the aviation industry and countries/lo- the pollution caused by the private cars used to reach these
cal authorities to achieve environmental enhancements appro- airports. The use of integrated environment-friendly modes of
priate in the particular circumstances should feature in the public transport such as the underground network, local trains
study. Best practice advice should be offered. and ‘green’ city buses should therefore be encouraged.

1.10. The COR considers it necessary that, in line with the

1.8. The importance of good air/rail connections and the
subsidiarity principle, the Member States should still be able to
development of competing transport modes for passenger
organise and regulate air traffic at airports in keeping with
and freight between European centres is recognised. New
local conditions, thus helping to take into account important
technologies such as the Transrapid project could provide a
local interests and needs.
sensible addition to what is on offer at the moment, and help
to bring about a decisive improvement in the overall situation.
However, any introduction of taxation to encourage one 1.11. The Committee endorses the needs for the European
form of transport over another should take account of the Union to work more closely with ICAO and to influence, as
availability of competitive land-based alternatives. far as is possible, its decisions. However, the environmental
problems facing the population of Europe are being felt now
and it is vital that appropriate actions, which are aimed at
1.9. The issue of the overall transport impact on an area introducing methods, procedures and guidance to contribute
including modes and distance of transport to the airport to reducing the worsening environmental impact of increasing
interchange and all servicing arrangements, for example, air-transport operations, are not delayed. Appropriate resourc-
airport-employee journeys and vehicles used by industries ing to meet the work programme objectives should be a
associated with airport, should be the subject of best practice priority.

Brussels, 14 June 2000.

The President
of the Committee of the Regions