The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on GA announced in early December that it now enjoyed the support of a record 85 Parliamentarians, making it one of the biggest APPGs in the current parliament and further strengthening the voice of GA
“In October, we received a very disappointing response from The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, to our September letter,” APPG Public Liaison officer Matthew Bolshaw tells Pilot.
In the letter, APPG chairman Grant Shapps MP had pointed out that GA was facing a ‘perfect storm’, from the closing down of airfield assets across the county, to the uneven playing field for pilot training and airspace restrictions, and called upon the Government to urgently address five areas of policy which would ensure the sector’s survival, including removing airfields from ‘brownfield’ status in the National Planning Policy Framework. “In his response, Mr Javid (wrongly) claimed that existing planning protection for airfields is sufficient. We fundamentally disagree. And we have been able to present the Secretary of State with compelling evidence about the need for action in a five-page response.”
The Minister’s ill-informed October letter and the APPG’s detailed response are well-worth reading. The documents are to be found at this link.
“On a more positive note,” continues Matthew Bolshaw, “we have received a far more enthusiastic response from the Secretary of State for Transport, The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP. He is taking several encouraging steps, including appointing a respected General Aviation Champion to his department.
“He has promised us an action plan by 14 February 2018. The Department for Transport has finally woken up to the fact that they are the Government department responsible for sponsoring the General Aviation sector. GA directly contributes £3bn to the economy, employs 38,000 people in high-skilled jobs and is critical to the success of the wider £53bn aviation sector. Aviation cannot thrive without General Aviation.
“We now look forward to the Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government working together for General Aviation during 2018.”