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The Department for Transport, run by the Secretary of State for Transport (since 14 July 2016) Chris Grayling, has appointed York Aviation to conduct a study into "a Strategic Network of UK Aerodromes".

In plain english - York Aviation are going to be reporting back to the DfT on the social and financial benefits of each type of General Aviation, both private and commercial at every GA airfield in the UK. The two 'benefits' are being measured on the specific impact to the UK economy and UK public. From this data all UK airfields will be evaluated on their importance to current and future use. From this list an optimal network of airfields will be recommended to the DfT together with a mechanism for how this network can be managed going forward.


Whilst those airfields with the greatest perceived benefits to the UK will potentially be 'safe', or indeed saved, by likely inclusion in the recommended network it raises the question of what will happen to the many hundreds of other airfields across the UK if they are not. What will be the cost, remit and role of this body managing the airfield network? There are of course many other questions.

As pilots and supporters of aviation and airfields it is vital to keep informed on this process through whichever body you feel best represents your interests, get in touch and find out what is going on. Engage in the process so your voice can be added to the collective drive to keep airfields with no apparent financial benefit but still sustain vital green space, wildlife havens and the activity we love so much.

The following statement is from the York Aviation website

York Aviation has been appointed by the Department for Transport to undertake a study on the definition of a ‘strategic network’ of general aviation aerodromes in the UK. The specific terms of reference are to:

  • summarise and spilt between private and the various types of commercial users, the main socio-economic benefits to the UK economy and the UK public, from having a strategic network of GA aerodromes; 
  • following the above, to identify a series of evaluation criteria that could be used to assess the current and future strategic importance of a UK aerodrome in relation to the various types of GA; 
  • to apply these criteria so as to create a UK wide database from which a network can be generated, and to recommend what the optimal UK strategic network would be and recommend how and by whom the network can be reviewed and kept up to date in line with changes in aerodrome use and capacity in future years.

We are keen to engage closely with the GA community during this exercise and we will be holding a series of workshops in due course on this topic for representative GA organisations. The organisations we will be consulting are:

Air League
Airfield Operators Group
Airport Operators Association
AOPA (Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association)
Association of Air Ambulances
Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Sysems (ARPAS)
British Aerobatic Association
British Association of Balloon Operators
British Aviation Preservation Council
British Balloon and Airship Club
British Business & General Aviation Association
British Gliding Association
British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association
British Helicopter Association
British Medical Pilots Association
British Microlight Aircraft Association
British Model Flying Association
British Parachute Association
British Women Pilots Association
CAA General Aviation Unit
Flying Farmers Association
General Aviation Alliance
General Aviation Awareness Council
General Aviation Infrastructure Network (GAIN)
General Aviation Safety Council (GASCo)
Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers
Helicopter Club of Great Britain
Historic Aircraft Association
Honourable Company of Air Pilots
Light Aircraft Association
National Police Air Service (NPAS)
PPL/IR Europe
Royal Aero Club
Royal Aeronautical Society
Vintage Aircraft Club

We would encourage anyone with an interest in this study to feed any thoughts or comments to the relevant organisations that represent your interests.

But should you wish to feedback any thoughts directly to us there is a dedicated email address you can use This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to contact us directly, although we may not be able to reply to every email individually.

 

UPDATE

In other words Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP could be saying "I am pleased you will officially advise which airfields are not critical to aviation infrastructure so we can build houses on them" - Government departments working together to build houses on airfields

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