As part of the study described below the GAAC has published a pilot survey. All qualified GA pilots in the UK are
encouraged to support this important study by completing the questionaire.
For a number of years GAAC has provided advice and
support to aerodrome operators concerning the application of planning law to General
Aviation activities. It has also been foremost in identifying the need for more research
into the relationship between local authority planning and General Aviation.
Whether involving a 'change of use' or
'development', more often than not, an airfield planning application will be rejected at
the local authority level and so become the subject of a public inquiry. At such inquiries
GAAC has found one issue, that of the airfield's economic contribution to the local
community, particularly difficult to evaluate and therefore defend. To date there has been
little research on the issue.
As a result of this flaw in its armoury, GAAC
has initiated a research project to investigate the economics of small airfields and
provide an acceptable method for determining the economic impact of a particular planning
proposal. Terry Lober is undertaking the research at the Bartlett School of Planning,
University College London with guidance from Nick Gallent, one of the researchers
The overall aim of the project is 'To
significantly increase the body of knowledge about General Aviation in the UK: its current
infrastructure, its role within the economy and its potential to play a greater part in
the socioeconomic development of the countryside.'
The project will gather information and data
from three main sources: pilots, airfield operators and local planning authorities. It
will examine the effectiveness of the Government's planning policy guidelines that relate
to General Aviation (essentially PPG13 and PPG24) towards achieving a more balanced
approach regarding small aerodromes.
In addition to traditional questionnaires and
surveys, case studies will be used to probe deeper into the daily life of an airfield. The
result should be a clear framework for evaluating General Aviation's economic contribution
at a local and national level.
Underlying the project is a belief that a
better understanding of the needs of General Aviation will increase support for the
maintenance of a viable aerodrome network. This applies particularly to those with
responsibility for deciding the disposition of planning proposals. It is also felt that
the knowledge gained will provide airfield operators with a clear checklist for achieving
greater harmony within their local communities. In doing so it will surely assist in
achieving the goal of a more vibrant, living countryside.