Terms of Reference


The Terms of Reference for the Independent Panel appointed by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland are as follows: -

To conduct an independent Examination in Public (EIP) of the key issues relating to the existing Belfast City Airport (BCA) Planning Agreement which controls certain aspects of BCA’s operations.

In the exercise of its functions, the Panel will have regard to:

  • the existing Planning Agreement with BCA;
  • submissions from BCA in relation to the basis for their request for a review of the Agreement;
  • representations made in respect of the public consultation exercise;
  • the Departmental position as outlined by the Minister in his announcement about the EiP;
  • the legislation governing the control of noise at airports plus the ongoing work by the Department of Regional Development (DRD) in relation to such noise; and
  • the relevant planning legislation and published policy guidance in Northern Ireland.In the organisation of the EiP, the Panel will:-

  1. select the matters to be considered in the course of the EiP; (see note 1)
  2. formulate and publish in advance the questions to be considered at the EiP and the list of nominated participants for each matter at the EiP; (see notes 2 and 3)
  3. invite nominated participants to contribute to the EiP and arrange public meeting(s); (see note 4)
  4. ensure that the EiP deals with the selected matters in sufficient depth without going into inappropriate levels of detail;
  5. assess the submissions made by participants and other written representations; and
  6. prepare and submit to the Department a report of the EiP, including recommendations on the future content of the Planning Agreement, within a period agreed with the Department. (see note 5)


  • The Panel will liaise with the Department on the matters to be included in the EiP.
  • In advance of the stated opening of the EiP the Panel must publish details, by way of press advertisement.
  • In advance of the stated opening of the EiP the Panel must publish and circulate the questions and the list of nominated participants to each individual, group or organisation that responded during the public consultation exercise.
  • The Panel must nominate participants and invite them to make both written and oral submissions based on the questions to be considered.
  • The Panel will be expected to submit its written report and recommendations to the Department within 8 weeks (or such extended period as may be agreed) of the end of the EiP
  • The Panel is required to adhere to the legislative obligations (eg Equality, Human Rights etc) placed upon Government in respect of the development of policy and the delivery of services.


The Panel has appointed Mr Peter Havelock as its adviser on aviation issues and aviation noise in particular.  Mr Havelock is Head of Environmental Research and Consultancy (ERCD) in the Directorate of Airspace Policy at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), London.

At the Panel’s initial meeting with Mr Havelock he give an introductory talk on aviation noise.

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