Proposed changes to planning laws could be the only hope for retaining a UK Network of Airfields, which at the current time has no legal protection. Some are safeguarded, and many more need to be, so that their existence has to be taken into account for local planning and development, but top-level, hard-law protection is still a distant dream as housing developers eye airfield sites more than ever.
It is absolutely critical that the planning reforms, that are designed to streamline and simplify the system to help economic development and meet demand for housing, take into account the essential nature of airfields for employment an in supporting the commercial aviation sector in its need to train new employees as it recovers over the next few years from the worst downturn in history, by far.
John Walker’s round-up of airfields under threat, or which have already been earmarked for closure or closed, serves as a reminder of what is a dire situation. What we don’t hear much yet is the severe financial strain airfields and airports are now under, threatening not only their survival but vast swathes of the air transport industry.