Calling airfield operators
Given that there’s strength in numbers, how is it that just thirty of you have signed up to the Airfield Operators Group?
Over the past few years the Airfield
Operators Group (AOG) has grown, now embracing over thirty airfields, including Goodwood, White Waltham, Popham and Compton Abbas. ‘But it needs to have more, as there really is a need to have a strong unified voice,’ says the Group. ‘Vital to the wellbeing of general aviation in the UK are the safe and well run airfields from which pilots operate (hopefully) for most of the year... Over the years airfields have survived without the benefit of direct information exchange or a platform for group discussion and/or support which, with the complexities and difficulties faced, is really quite extraordinary.
‘To this end we are asking that all
medium and small airfields join the AOG. We have already had successes, one being negotiating a significant reduction of the AFPEX costs to airfields. With other changes in the pipeline that will affect us all, it’s even more important that we pull together now, and make an early contribution to the rules and regulations that affect us. It is free to join, there are no subscription fees, and you will find the forum is a great way to share information. The AOG would happily embrace the busier unlicensed airfields as there... are many common issues to be shared. Meetings can be held in suitable geographical locations throughout the UK to enable local as well as national issues to be discussed when the need arises.
‘If you are an airfield owner/operator and would like a voice in the future of GA in the UK please visit airfieldoperatorsgroup.co.uk and sign up to the forum, and email [email protected] airfieldoperatorsgroup.co.uk with your name, title and the airfield you are associated with.’
The Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is in the last stages of updating the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 No 596, which will make changes to the notification process where telecommunication mast extensions are proposed.
‘This change removes the opportunity for aerodromes to be consulted on extensions to existing mobile masts where the extension is up to 5m in height, providing a maximum height of 25m AGL,’ says the CAA. ‘Although Telecom Code Operators are required to “notify” the CAA and aerodrome operators, this does not constitute “consultation” and there is no requirement on the Code Operator to act on any objection or request for a reduction in height. The CAA, MOD and NATS had met with DCMS and Department for Trade to raise their concerns regarding the removal of the prior approval process and its potential impact on aviation safety, especially where a telecom mast extension is positioned close to the boundary of an aerodrome. The DCMS was sympathetic to concerns raised, but advised that ministers had already agreed the change, concluding its consultation process.’
To mitigate against any potential risk to aviation the CAA, MOD and NATS have contributed to the operators’ Code of Best Practice on Mobile Network Development in England which can be found at mobileuk.org/ pdf/cobp-mobile-network-development.pdf ‘Whilst this is not as robust as the system previously in place, it does provide an opportunity for consultation,’ says the CAA. ‘Aerodrome operators are asked to be diligent in their safeguarding processes and mindful of the fact that a telecom mast extension may appear without prior warning. Where such a situation arises, the operator should conduct a safeguarding assessment and, if it is identified (that) the mast presents an unacceptable risk to aviation, take action to ensure aviation safety is not compromised until such time as a further evaluation can take place or arrangements are in place to reduce/remove the mast.’
The CAA will be interested to learn of any situation involving masts that has been experienced by an aerodrome operator at: asd[email protected]
There is a move to petition the Prime Minister of France to try to stop removal of Customs facilities at around fifteen
aerodromes across France, including: Abbeville, Agen-la Garenne, Amiens-glisy, Annemasse, Besançon-la Vezé, La MoleSaint Tropez, Lannion, La Roche-sur-yon, Le Castellet, Lognes-emerainville, MontbelliardCourcelles, Nevers-fourchambault and Vichy-charmeil. Any Pilot readers who use these might like to sign the petition at: https://www.change.org/p/non-à-l-exclusionimminente-de-13-aéroports-de-provincecomme-points-de-passage-frontalier.
Lognes-emerainville Airport is one of the French airports that may lose Customs facilities