Airfield planning hope
In December, then Sec of State for Communities promised to revisit Government planning policy in relation to airfields
The All-party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on General Aviation has warmly welcomed a positive commitment made in early
December by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid MP, to revisit Government planning policy in relation to airfields.
Mr Javid said he was “grateful for the considered arguments” raised by the group for recognising the economic importance of airfields under planning policy and had asked officials in the Department, which is responsible for setting national planning policy guidelines, to review the existing policy in close liaison with the Department for Transport.
Commenting on Mr Javid’s response, Grant Shapps MP, Chair of the APPG, said: “No Whitehall department is more essential to the future of General Aviation than the Department of Communities and Local Government. However, up until now, that department hasn’t grasped the connection between planning, airfields and the very survival of one of the UK’S most vibrant sectors – aviation. This latest letter from the Secretary of State is therefore very significant indeed and the All-party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation strongly welcomes and appreciates the Secretary of State’s thoughtful response to our arguments on strengthening planning policy on airfields. We look forward to working with the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as the Department for Transport and Government more widely to get the balance right for this critical sector and the whole of the UK economy.”
“2018 will be a significant year for the APPG on General Aviation,” APPG’S Ellis Turrell tells us. “I am delighted to say that we have successfully fought to get the Housing, Communities and Local Government Department to look again at planning policy around airfields, which is widely regarded as too weak to prevent airfields from being closed and built on. This is very significant, because the Secretary of State had originally claimed all was well and that no changes were required. We therefore warmly welcome this change of position.
“Also, in another positive step, the Department for Transport has announced that Byron Davies MP will be the Government’s first ever General Aviation Champion. The announcement was made by the Secretary of State Chris Grayling at our Christmas Reception on the House of Commons Terrace. Byron was the first Chair of the APPG until he lost his seat in the 2017 General Election, and we congratulate him on his appointment. He is someone who absolutely understands the issues facing the GA sector, and I know he will do a fantastic job promoting GA in the Department. He will be in charge of a project the DFT are undertaking to establish a strategic network of General Aviation airfields in the UK, and will also be very active in Airspace Strategy and the Department of Transport’s overall Aviation Strategy.
“Finally, the APPG’S three working groups on Airfields, Airspace and Aviation Taxation are getting underway [in January]. The working groups are comprised of experts in the respective fields. We look forward to being able to report on their progress shortly.”
Membership of the APPG has grown rapidly to include 116 parliamentarians across both Houses of Parliament. Its declared mission is ‘to help make the UK the best country in the world for GA’. generalaviationappg.uk
Byron Davies MP