The Bedford Select Board covered a lot of ground in comments submitted to the scoping process for the upcoming Hanscom Field Environmental Status and Planning Report (ESPR).
A statement approved by the board at its meeting on Monday addresses “the needs and concerns of Bedford residents,” specifically ground traffic, noise, air quality, sustainable development, and wetlands.
The ESPR, required by state government every five years, is “an overview of the operational environment and planning status” of the airport, as well as long-range projections of environmental impacts.
The Massachusetts Port Authority, which owns Hanscom Field, has presented the ESPR scope to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The comment period expires at the end of next week.
Bedford’s comments were composed by Select Board Chair Emily Mitchell, who is also the town’s representative on the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission.
The statement points out current and proposed hangar construction projects on the airfield accessible from Hartwell Road. The ESPR should “develop plans to work with the town of Bedford to minimize impacts on local traffic and neighborhoods,” the Select Board recommended.
“Given the ongoing development at the North Airfield site, which abuts Bedford neighborhoods,
we feel the ESPR must include projections for increased noise from aircraft entering and
departing those new hangars, as well as mitigation plans to reduce the expected increased noise
pollution within those neighborhoods,” the statement continues.
Citing concerns about the use of leaded fuel in aircraft, the board called for the ESPR to include “an emissions inventory for lead, using direct air and soil sampling — not simply modeling — to calculate the current levels of lead on the property and propose appropriate mitigation strategies.”
The Select Board called for “proposed incentives and infrastructure for newer aircraft using sustainable fuels, including all-electric jets and aircraft using renewable sources,” pointing out that “much of the air traffic in and around Bedford comes from older, single-engine piston aircraft, which still use leaded avgas.”
The comments also note that “the airfield is partly located within one of the town’s aquifer protection districts, and the wetland buffers cover more than half of the property.”“Protecting our natural resources requires a thorough understanding of the extent of current pollution. We urge Massport to use actual sampling, not simply modeling or projections, in calculating the extent of its impacts on the local environment.”