10 MAY 2021
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They are a hugely valuable resource says industry group.
Highlighted in BTN 26 April the Department for Transport’s General Aviation (GA) Roadmap has resulted in a quick response from The General Aviation Awareness Council (GAAC).
It is proposing a fourth category of land that would aid in balanced economic development – through the recognition of valuable ‘Infrastructure’. Without an ‘Infrastructure’ category, suggests the GAAC, airfields would be deemed ‘Protected’, rendering them unable to evolve and become commercially viable, and leaving them even more vulnerable to housing developers.
It warns that the UK could repeat mistakes similar to those that led to the closure of many railway branch lines in the 1960s. Identifying key aerodrome sites as ‘strategically Important Infrastructure’ that are part of a valued Network of Airfields could help to prevent such wholesale destruction.
The Council reasons that small airfields complement future flight projects such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), including commercial drone deliveries and air taxis. It also highlights that more environmentally sustainable ‘green’ aircraft powered by electricity, hydrogen and alternative fuels that are either already UK-licensed or about to be.
The UK Government’s Planning White Paper, published last August, focused on streamlining the planning process and speeding up the provision of new housing. At the heart of this Paper was a proposal to create three ‘Zones’.
The GAAC is now suggesting a fourth planning ‘Zone’ for ‘Infrastructure’ – to include GA airfields.
Aerodromes constitute “a huge resource – contributing to connectivity and transport needs, facilitating business aviation, flying training, STEM-related [Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] training and jobs, supporting emergency services and charities, offering recreational, leisure and sporting facilities,” commented John Gilder, GAAC vice-chairman and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) GA’s Airfields Working Group. “Most importantly in the current context, they help ensure connectivity in key locations for future infrastructure needs – in the ‘transport, digital, energy and utility’ sectors.”
Also see Green List Press Conference in this week's BTN.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Winston Thomas MBE, Carmarthenshire
Regional Airport certainly play a big part in aviation in training pilots