Parliamentarians help protect airfields and pilot training through further planning guidance changes

Wednesday 24 July 2019. 

In a major win for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA) the Government has announced changes to planning guidance meaning that long established airfields will no longer be threatened by the occupants of newly built housing.

The fresh guidance issued today will require that all new developments mitigate against airfield noises on the final approach and departure routes from operational runways. This will prevent developers and new residents from acting against airfields over noise and other issues, specifically because the airfield was already there in advance of residents moving to the area.

The ‘Agent of Change’ principle is being extended so that developers and planners would be expected to take into account the operation of local airfields when granting fresh planning permission for housing and other uses.

The new guidance says, “This could include development in the immediate vicinity of an airport, or the final approach and departure routes of an operational runway, and locations that experience regular low altitude overflight by general aviation aircraft, where this activity could subject residents or occupiers to significant noise, air quality issues and/or vibration impacts.

Welcoming the changes, the APPG-GA’s Airfields Working Group Chair John Gilder said:

“The Airfields Working Group has campaigned for recognition that airfields provide high tech jobs and pilot training to thousands of people. However, up until now it has been possible for new residents to move in nearby and then start to complain about an airfield which may have been operational for 100 years – eventually getting it restricted or even closed. This new guidance will place the onus on planners and developers to take steps to mitigate any disturbance for new residents and it sends a strong message to the courts that our General Aviation airfields are part of the UK’s ongoing prosperity.

“Those wishing to build nearby airfields are now responsible for justifying their intentions and mitigating the impact of disturbance future residents might experience. We regard this as a very positive contribution that complements other recent National Planning Policy Framework changes in moving towards an atmosphere conducive to protecting and growing the UK’s General Aviation community in the UK.“

The changes come into effect immediately in conjunction with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Section 182, which prevents people living in new developments attempting to have an airfield closed due to noise and pollution.

Chair of the APPG on General Aviation, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP commented:

“Thousands of jobs and the entire aviation sector depends on having places to train pilots and develop skills. This change by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MCHLG) is welcomed by parliamentarians who are concerned to protect and enhance the prosperity of their local areas. We are grateful to Minister for State for Housing Kit Malthouse MP for introducing this fresh guidance.”


Notes for the Editor

    1. For more details on the changes please visit:–2
    2. For more information please contact George Lawley on
    3. The APPG on General Aviation has 222 Parliamentarians who are members.