The GAAC since its inception has been striving to protect airfields better, working closely with the APPG for General Aviation (Now APPG for Aviation).

In this respect it is important to read GAAC Fact Sheet No.6 which outlines recent developments in the National Planning Policy Framework, and the GAAC’s Response to the revised NPPF in 2018.

Part of the concern GAAC has relates to development proposals for Brownfield land (defined in the NPPF as ‘Previously developed land). Where it is away from build-up areas, even the land around ‘previously developed land’ can become “fair game” for developers even if it is in the Green Belt, so airfields come under the unwelcome gaze of housing developers — and the increase in value can often tempt even the most pro-aviation landlord to switch sides, in effect!

NPPF Definition of Brownfield Land:

Previously developed land: Land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land (although it should not be assumed that the whole of the curtilage should be developed) and any associated fixed surface infrastructure. This excludes: land that is or was last occupied by agricultural or forestry buildings; land that has been developed for minerals extraction or waste disposal by landfill, where provision for restoration has been made through development management procedures; land in built-up areas such as residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments; and land that was previously developed but where the remains of the permanent structure or fixed surface structure have blended into the landscape.

Attempts were made by GAAC and the APPG for GA, among others, to ensure the 2018 update included general aviation airfields in the exclusion (along with former forestry buildings etc) but this was sadly rejected.

However the fact that general aviation airfields were afforded a definition for the first time and also recognised in the new section requiring their existence to be very much taken into account in planning considerations was very positive. One small step, but a giant leap for GA compared to years of achieving little or no successes in getting properly recognised as valuable.

Page updated 25 March 2021.


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