Concerned that 100,000 signatures won’t be achieved
Thank you for promoting the Airfields not Brownfields petition. I am an avid aviation enthusiast and read your ‘Maintain the Momentum’ editorial in the November edition with great interest. There is no doubt that ‘assumed planning consent’ on brownfield sites is the gravest threat to GA we’ve ever seen and if it happens we’ll see airfields closing faster than pubs.
I have read a few pieces about this subject over the past couple of months, most saying roughly the same: ‘sign the petition’, ‘write to your MP’ etc — pretty static stuff. Perhaps (hopefully) there’s more going on than I’ve read about because I fear that 100,000 signatures by 27 February will not be reached, yet, as you refer to in your piece, it is achieveable. There are enough sympathetic people out there who, if we could get them to take notice and sign the target would be reached. I hope you don’t mind but I’d like to pass a few ideas to you and see what you think...
Looking at some of the blogs out there it’s quite scary how many people are negative about GA. The ‘rich-oldboy’ stereotypes are believed and people have been educated to make a big fuss about occasional noise. Little help is going to come from Joe Public. GA itself is of course the natural target for signatures, but I’m not sure there are sufficient numbers to do the job and depressingly much of GA isn’t really grasping the nettle — try to find something about the petition on the LAA website for example! Surely ‘the gravest ever threat to general aviation’ should be on the home page!
What’s needed, I believe, is a creative and targeted campaign that informs and persuades a wide range of natural sympathisers. John Grace offers a number of detailed and useful suggestions we do not have space to reproduce here — suffice to say that the aviation associations and Pilot are pursuing many different avenues. Happily, even the 18,000-odd signatures accrued at the time of writing have been sufficient not just to draw a response from Government but provoke questions in the House of Commons — Ed.