APPG spells out pro­tec­tion for GA air­fields

Pilot - - NOTES -

The All Party Par­lia­men­tary Group (APPG) on Gen­eral Avi­a­tion has re­vealed its con­tri­bu­tion to the draft Na­tional Plan­ning Pol­icy Frame­work pub­lished by the Min­istry of Hous­ing, Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Government. Thanks to the APPG’S in­put, for the first time na­tional plan­ning pol­icy is set to ‘recog­nise the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing and en­hanc­ing a na­tional net­work of gen­eral avi­a­tion fa­cil­i­ties – tak­ing into ac­count their eco­nomic value in serv­ing business, leisure, train­ing and emer­gency ser­vice needs, and the Government’s Gen­eral Avi­a­tion Strat­egy’. Nei­ther the es­ti­mated £3bn con­tri­bu­tion GA makes to the UK econ­omy nor the GA Strat­egy was recog­nised in past na­tional plan­ning pol­icy.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, GA air­fields have been added to the list of business and com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing places of wor­ship, pubs, mu­sic venues and sports clubs, that ‘should not have un­rea­son­able re­stric­tions placed upon them as a re­sult of devel­op­ment per­mit­ted af­ter they were es­tab­lished’. (In the past many air­fields have suf­fered as a re­sult of com­plaints made by peo­ple mov­ing in to new hous­ing nearby, rather in the man­ner of those who buy a house near a church and com­plain about the noise of the bells.)

A def­i­ni­tion of what con­sti­tutes a GA air­field now fig­ures in the glos­sary, and ‘land that is or has been used for gen­eral avi­a­tion pur­poses’ has been ex­cluded from what is de­fined as ‘pre­vi­ously de­vel­oped land’ (giv­ing it the same level of pro­tec­tion as land pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied by agri­cul­tural or forestry build­ings and ar­eas such as parks and re­cre­ation grounds).

Chair of the 148-strong Par­lia­men­tary group, Grant Shapps, MP, said: “Whilst it’s great to have gen­eral avi­a­tion recog­nised in the Na­tional Plan­ning Pol­icy Frame­work for the very first time, this won’t solve the prob­lem of a di­min­ish­ing air­field net­work. If we are to main­tain and en­hance our po­si­tion and de­liver the government’s own stated ob­jec­tive of be­ing the best coun­try in the world for gen­eral avi­a­tion, then the NPPF needs to make four fur­ther small changes. That is why I have writ­ten to the Sec­re­tary of State for Hous­ing, Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Government, The Rt Hon Sa­jid Javid, MP, ask­ing for these sim­ple amendments that would make all the dif­fer­ence.

“Min­is­ters do recog­nise that the fu­ture of science, tech­nol­ogy, engi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics (STEM) jobs are at stake. This con­sul­ta­tion pro­vides gen­eral avi­a­tion’s chance to make sure we get this right as a na­tion for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Now we need every­one who cares about GA to take a cou­ple of min­utes to re­spond.” The APPG is ask­ing all parts of the GA com­mu­nity to back the pro­posed amendments by vis­it­ing: gen­er­alavi­a­tion­ The whole process takes less than sixty sec­onds, but could keep GA for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. The con­sul­ta­tion closes on 10 May 2017.

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