A decision on which area will be reserved for construction of a third runway at Oslo Airport Gardermoen will be made in 2013. The Government has already resolved that land shall be set aside for this purpose; the question being considered now is where. It is natural that a number of debates will arise regarding such a selection. OSL therefore wants to be open and transparent about the process that has already taken place, as well as which option we believe is best.
“The move from Fornebu to Gardermoen taught us the importance of a long-term perspective. The Government has already made a policy decision to reserve land area for a third runway. OSL, on behalf of Avinor, has been assigned the task of conducting a study to identify the best alternative,” says Head of Media Relations for OSL Vegar Gystad.
A reference group composed of all key players, including OSL’s host municipalities, has followed this work closely. The study has now been submitted for public hearing among the affected parties, before the Ministry of Transport and Communications submits the matter for a final decision.
“We believe this has been a well-organised and open process. We have made an expert recommendation which, together with the consultation statements, will form the basis for the continued process. This process will be led by the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of the Environment, prior to the Government’s decision on which option will be selected,” says Gystad.
The study started with 15 different feasibility studies, which were then narrowed down to three potential alternatives: a western alternative (Nannestad), an eastern alternative (Ullensaker) and a northern alternative (Eidsvoll). OSL has been assisted by several consultants and experts both in Norway and abroad, including Rambøll, Asplan Viak, SINTEF, Swedavia, and a team of experts at Munich International Airport.
These were very detailed and thorough studies, based on the following assessment criteria:
Aircraft operations aspects, traffic capacity, soil conditions, relocation of homes and people, noise, ground and water pollution, impact on the natural environment, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural areas, sand and gravel resources, disadvantages for the community, outdoor recreation, cultural heritage artefacts, land acquisition, economy.
“The northern alternative was scrapped fairly quickly due to aircraft operations aspects. The eastern and western alternatives have both been carefully evaluated. Based on an overall assessment, OSL recommends the eastern alternative. In other words, no specific evaluations or single criteria have led to our recommendation. Based on a comprehensive process, this is what we believe is the best alternative for the Norwegian society,” says Gystad.
OSL has experienced a good dialogue with the surrounding municipalities during the study process. OSL also confirms that there is agreement concerning the wisdom of planning for the future to accommodate the development in air traffic.
“Our experience is that there is broad-based agreement concerning the need to reserve areas early in the process so as to create a predictable situation for the affected municipalities. At the same time, we note that none of the surrounding municipalities will endorse a recommendation which entails that their particular municipality would have to relinquish land area. We in OSL respect this, and understand that all municipalities are devoted to safeguarding the interests of their own citizens. This is why the decision process is important. OSL studies and makes recommendations – the politicians make the decisions,” Gystad concludes.