Inspired by Pilot magazine and launched jointly by the LAA, General Aviation Awareness Council, British Helicopter Association, British Model Flying Association and other members of the CAA/GA partnership on 27 August, the ‘Airfields not Brownfields’ petition accrued 2,400 signatories in just 24 hours, and MPs were soon getting in touch to ask for briefings.
‘If you have not done so already, please go to https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/106779 and add your name,’ urges Pilot Editor Philip Whiteman. ‘To date, 15,982 people have done this – just under 2,000 in the last three weeks. As we said in October’s ‘Pilot Notes’, if 10,000 were to sign, the Government would be required to respond – and now it is having to do just that – but if it accumulates 100,000 signatures, the petition must be considered for debate in Parliament.
‘100,000 is a large number, but not so very big when you set it against the number of pilots in the UK – estimated to be somewhere near the 30,000 mark – or, indeed the readership of the country’s flying magazines (Flyer too has been putting out the word). However, the infamous ‘administrative oversight’ that led to the deletion of planning protection from airfields being classified as brownfield sites affects not just pilots and aircraft owners, but all the other people who use, enjoy and benefit from airfield facilities – from model flyers and the enthusiasts who flock to airshows, to the tens of thousands of people employed on an everyday basis in the aviation industry.
‘It’s the gravest issue we face in GA: the UK aerodrome network is regarded by DfT as an important part of the national transport infrastructure and there is strong evidence that airfield sites offer low-insecticide, low-herbicide, sanctuaries for plants, insects and associated wildlife.
‘Please do not allow the momentum of these last two months to lapse. If you have already signed up, don’t rest on your laurels — we need to shout the message from the rooftops: the destruction of our airfields must be stopped!’