In its report “Governance and participation in aviation”, the Dutch ministerial Advisory Committee Cohen makes a strong plea for integral, permanent and professional resident participation. The residents’ delegation to the Schiphol Environment Council (ORS) sees this as support for its aim to seriously pursue the Schiphol consultation in the ORS. She also expects support from ORS chairman Pieter van Geel, who is currently evaluating the current environmental council. Below are some quotes from the Cohen report.
Participation in aviation is a continuous process. It is about a constant weighing up between major and comprehensive public interests, such as sustainability and the economy. This makes participation in aviation different from many other areas, where there is a more defined process, such as the construction of new infrastructure. The participation for this has a clear start and an end. Even when aviation involves a new project or decision, such as opening a new airport (Lelystad) or a new runway, balancing interests – and thus participation – is often a continuous process.
Aviation has a significant impact on the living environment of many people, animals and plants; noise pollution, incoming and outgoing flows via roads, emissions of CO2, nitrogen and (ultra) fine dust, concerns about external safety. That makes participation really matter. Decisions in aviation can make a big difference in the quality of the living environment.
An important factor in this is that aviation is a technically complicated subject. That does not make participation easier. After all, it is not realistic that every participant has all the expertise needed to understand, for example, the finer points of safety issues, or to have insight into the measurement and calculation of noise. Nevertheless, these are subjects that come up for consideration when weighing up interests in aviation.