Parliamentary Group seeks reassurance on protection for airfields under new planning rules

Friday 28th August 2020

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA) has signalled its concern about the lack of protection for airfields within the newly proposed changes to planning rules in the UK.

Co-Chair of the group, Lord Davies of Gower, has written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to seek clarification on the status of airfields under the planned changes.

The new reforms, announced on the 6th August, are aimed at overhauling the current planning system to make it easier for developers to build new housing. Under the new system, areas of land would be designated for either growth, renewal or protection by local planners.

Commenting on the proposals, Lord Davies of Gower said “It is currently unclear how MHCLG plans to categorise airfields under its new system. The aviation community has learned from bitter experience that airfields are already an all too tempting prospect for local authorities and housing developers. We want to make sure that the new system does not make it easier for runways to be converted into suburbs”

The consultation on proposals for the new system ends on the 29th October, any changes will then need to be made into legislation before the first round of plans can be submitted under the new system. However, the APPG-GA sees this phase of the policy as a crucial opportunity to make things better for airfields.

Lord Davies said “these proposals do represent a real opportunity to address the problems airfields face under the current system. We want to see a system where sites are protected for use as airfields as part of a national strategic network – but we also want airfields to have some planning flexibility to develop and diversify their businesses without undue constraint.

“Once an airfield disappears, one is never built to replace it. As an industry, GA cannot afford to lose any more of its vital network of airfields. This is why we need to get the right deal for airfields out of this latest policy process.”

To view the letter, click here

To access the Government’s consultation on new planning rules, click here