The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on General Aviation has welcomed the Government’s overhaul of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which includes a specific reference to the importance of General Aviation for the first time
The NPPF provides planning guidance to Local Authorities and sets out a comprehensive approach for planners, developers and councils. The draft revised text includes new Paragraph 105(f) which states that planning policies should:
“recognise the importance of maintaining a national network of general aviation facilities – taking into account their economic value in serving business, leisure, training and emergency service needs, and the Government’s General Aviation Strategy”.
However, the Parliamentary Group – consisting of 141 MPs and Peers – also expressed concern that General Aviation is not yet classified as ’national infrastructure’ and the Brownfield issue (airfields tend to be viewed as brownfield in planning terms, even when they are predominantly grass) is not directly addressed so far.
Chair of the all-party group Grant Shapps MP said this classification problem needs to be looked at in order to “complete the changes General Aviation needs to provide STEM jobs and growth for the future”.
According to government research, the General Aviation sector directly contributes £3bn to the UK economy every year, and employs over 38,000 people in high-tech science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs. It enables the wider £60.6bn UK aviation sector to exist.
Shapps also said: “Today’s publication of the revised National Planning Policy Framework is welcome.
“This demonstrates the Government now recognises the enormous contribution General Aviation makes to high-tech jobs and the national economy. It is also good to see the General Aviation Strategy being referenced directly from the National Planning Policy Framework.
The draft document is now open for consultation, closing on 10th May 2018.