The Massachusetts Port Authority's (Massport) draft environmental report for Hanscom Field has received the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) OK from the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, concluding the first phase of an exhaustive and extensive look at previous airport activity and the potential effects of any future activity. The report, or 2000 Hanscom Field Draft Environmental Status and Planning Report (ESPR), confirmed that Hanscom Field can continue to play a key role in regional transportation planning as a premier general aviation facility with corporate jet and small aircraft activity and additional niche services. While delivering essential aviation service to an area that has seen tremendous growth and development over the past ten years, Hanscom Field has had limited environmental effects on local historic resources, neighbors and businesses the report found.
The Hanscom Field ESPR studied the period between 1995 and 2000 and also looked at several growth scenarios through the year 2015. Looking back, the report found that environmental impacts were minimal for the year 2000:
- Hanscom Field contributed only 4.3% of the traffic on Route 2A during the afternoon rush hour
- On Hanscom Drive, Hanscom Field traffic represented only 13% of the cars during the afternoon rush hour, while residents and non-airport traffic accessing Virginia Road accounted for 33% of the traffic
- Shuttle America flights accounted for 3.1% of the airport's total operations
- 78.1% of the airport's flights were single engine piston planes with almost half of those being student "touch and go" operations
- Aircraft emissions from Hanscom Field were significantly less than 1% of total emissions for Middlesex County
The review provides sound environmental analysis for what could be the airport's potential by defining possible environmental effects, if any, under various scenarios. In an improvement over previous reports, information from various forecasts was consolidated under categories (i.e air quality, regional planning, ground transportation) to avoid flipping back and forth and facilitate readers' understanding.
Massport, in accordance with the MEPA decision, will conduct additional research and analysis in the final ESPR in order to receive final approval.
In the summer of 2001, Hanscom Field became the first airport in the United States to receive ISO 14001 certification. The certification marks Massport commitment to making Hanscom Field an environmentally-friendly facility. In completing the ISO 14001 process, Massport has documented and chronicled every practice and activity at the airport conducted by employees and tenants. The data is then used to foster the use of sustainable design, improve environmental compliance and increase environmental awareness.