Planning rules must further change if airfields are to survive and thrive. That is the view of the Cross-Party group on aviation

They say that airfields should be given the same protections under planning law as other places of business, such as factories or music venues, allowing airfields to operate without challenges to their right to exist.

Following successful representations to the Housing Minister, members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA), met with the Government’s Director of Planning, Simon Gallagher, to discuss new planning guidelines aimed at further protecting airfields.

After the meeting John Steel QC, member of the APPG Airfields Working Group, said: “We had a very productive meeting with Simon and his team, which saw agreement that changes are required if we want to see investment and growth in airfields.

“I am looking forward to hearing the solutions that Simon and his team bring back to us.”

The group of aviation-minded parliamentarians, who last year helped secure important recognition for General Aviation in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), also used the meeting to call for airfields to be included under section 182 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), better known as the ‘church bell clause’.

This would mean that new housing developments could not result in nearby airfields being shut down due to noise complaints from residents who will in future live in houses which are not yet built.

Inclusion in the church bell clause would mean that property developers no longer see airfields as ‘easy targets’ and would instead need to work to increase housing supply by creating mixed-use developments.

Chair of the APPG-GA, Grant Shapps MP, said: “Airfields are key to ensuring the UK aviation sector continues to thrive and that high-quality jobs can be created.

“Without these further planning changes more airfields would close down, seriously damaging the UK’s ability to compete in the modern world.”

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