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Principle 2: Urban and rural areas

We are seeking views about whether we should prioritise flights over urban or rural areas.

Urban areas are more populated than rural areas so airspace designs that seek to minimise the number of people overflown are likely to position routes over rural areas or less densely populated urban areas.

However, urban areas have higher general noise levels than rural areas and therefore the presence of aircraft noise might be less noticeable than in rural locations. We also recognise that rural locations are often valued for their tranquillity by both residents and visitors, who could include residents of neighbouring densely populated urban areas.

Urban and rural areas

When designing airspace, we could:

A. Prioritise routing aircraft over urban areas, recognising that urban areas have higher general noise levels; or,

B. Prioritise routing aircraft over rural areas where fewer people live.