APPG calls for GA air­fields’ plan­ning pro­tec­tion

Pilot - - NOTES -

The All-party Par­lia­men­tary Group on Gen­eral Avi­a­tion (APPG) has called upon the Min­is­ter for Hous­ing and Plan­ning, Kit Malt­house, MP, to pro­vide air­fields with the same level of ret­ro­spec­tive pro­tec­tion as church bells, live mu­sic venues and farms. Known as the ‘agent of change’, it pro­hibits cam­paigns by those who move into an area to close down some­thing which pre­ex­isted their move. In a meet­ing be­tween mem­bers of the APPG’S Air­field Work­ing Group and Mr Malt­house, the prin­ci­ple of fresh plan­ning guid­ance was agreed, in or­der to pre­vent new res­i­dents from cam­paign­ing to close down aero­dromes that have been op­er­a­tional for many years.

The dis­cus­sion built on the suc­cess­ful in­clu­sion of a gen­eral avi­a­tion para­graph in the Na­tional Plan­ning Pol­icy Frame­work (NPPF) pub­lished last year which stated that plan­ning au­thor­i­ties must ‘recog­nise the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing a na­tional net­work of gen­eral avi­a­tion air­fields, and the need to adapt and change over time, tak­ing into ac­count their eco­nomic value in serv­ing busi­ness, leisure, train­ing and emer­gency ser­vice needs, and the Gov­ern­ment’s Gen­eral Avi­a­tion Strat­egy’. How­ever, the APPG also wants gov­ern­ment plan­ning guide­lines to treat air­fields in the same way those other ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties re­ceive pro­tec­tion in the re­cently agreed NPPF.

APPG Chair­man Grant Shapps, MP, said: “High tech jobs and UK growth de­pend on the suc­cess of avi­a­tion, and Bri­tain should be able to train a big chunk of the 790,000 new pi­lots the world will need by 2020. How­ever, we need ac­tive air­fields for this kind of train­ing and too many are care­lessly be­ing closed. This was a very con­struc­tive meet­ing that ex­am­ined ways to get greater sup­port for aero­dromes and air­fields into na­tional plan­ning guid­ance. It is im­por­tant that min­is­ters ap­pre­ci­ate that aero­dromes are vi­tal part of this coun­try’s fu­ture eco­nomic suc­cess. As a for­mer Hous­ing Min­is­ter, I am also keen to see more homes built, and so we would like to see guide­lines in place that speed up the build­ing of mixed-use de­vel­op­ment where homes, busi­ness and air­fields can hap­pily co-ex­ist.”

The Min­is­ter com­mented: “We had a con­struc­tive meet­ing. I look for­ward to meet­ing fur­ther with the APPG on GA to con­tinue these dis­cus­sions.”

New guid­ance is due to be is­sued in the spring.

Kit Malt­house, MP

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