The Local Government Secretary of State, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, has told local planning authorities that they should engage with non-statutory consultees (including aerodromes) on developments within the local area

In a letter to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation Mr Brokenshire says that “National Planning Practice Guidance sets out that local planning authorities should consider whether there are planning policy reasons to engage other consultees who – whilst not designated in law – are likely to have an interest in the proposed development.

“Local planning authorities are encouraged to produce and publish a locally specific list of non-statutory consultees. Local planning authorities should engage with non-statutory consultees to identify clearly the types of developments within the local area in which they have interest so that any formal consultation can be directed appropriately.”

Mr Brokenshire also said that officials from his department, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, are working with the Department for Transport on the safeguarding status of licensed or certified airfields in the UK.

The Secretary of State’s letter came in response to the all-party group’s call to Government to grant ‘official safeguarding’ status to all 123 of these licensed aerodromes.

Official safeguarding status is awarded to civil aerodromes by the Government in order to ensure that their operation and development are not inhibited by neighbouring developments such as buildings – which could interfere with navigational aids or distract pilots. This means that any development proposals require consultation with the Civil Aviation Authority. Currently only 29 aerodromes in England and Wales and 12 in Scotland are officially safeguarded.

Chair of the 174-strong all-party parliamentary group, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, said: “The minister has sent a clear message that local planning authorities should draw up a list of non statutory organisations who should be consulted on matters related to their airfields surviving and thriving.

“Parliamentary colleagues warmly welcome this reassurance from the Secretary of State that the interests of local aerodromes and the General Aviation sector must not be disregarded, particularly when it comes to planning issues which may impact on their ability to train the pilots, engineers and air traffic controllers of the future.

“But we want the Government to go further, and specifically grant the 123 licensed and certified aerodromes in the UK officially safeguarded status. It surely cannot be right that only 29 aerodromes in England and Wales, and just 12 in Scotland, are officially protected from neighbouring developments inhibiting their activities. If the Government truly wants to see the UK’s aviation grassroots thrive, then it must at the very least officially safeguard all licensed aerodromes.”

The APPG on GA intends to send the letter to every planning authority in order to highlight the advice in order to better protect the STEM jobs and growth derived from general aviation.

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