Biggin Hill Airport given operating hours extension by Bromley Council bosses
PUBLISHED: 15:19 26 March 2015 | UPDATED: 08:39 27 March 2015
The airport received agreement in principle for its proposals
Biggin Hill Airport received the green light for its expansion plans from council bosses, getting an agreement in principle at a meeting last night (March 25).
Bromley Council members met to debate proposals by the airport to extend its operating hours. The full council meeting - which took place at 7pm last night - saw almost 300 residents gather to watch proceedings.
Although the full council debated the proposals, it was just the ruling Conservative Party executive who made the final decision. The group of six councillors met following the debate, taking a vote on whether expansion should be allowed. The final vote saw the proposal given the go-ahead with four councillors voting for the plans, while two councillors voted against them.
Council leader, Stephen Carr said at the meeting that he thought the proposal was a positive way forward, and that he was supportive of the plans.
He said: “We have always said that our objectives are to see a successful airport whilst balancing the needs of residents for peace and quiet and this decision has these principles at the heart of them. We are willing to consider extending the operating hours if Biggin Hill Airport agree the key conditions which improve the situation for everyone.
“We firmly believe this is both reasonable and the right course of action, particularly as it absolutely must come alongside measures to demonstrably reduce the noise impact which will be clear to everyone and include a cap in overall flight movements.”
Biggin Hill Airport thanked its supporters after the vote, taking to Twitter to exclaim : “The Executive Committee have voted 4-2 in favour. Thanks everyone for your support.”
Will Curtis, managing director of the airport, said that the decision was crucial for the airport’s progression in the future.
He said: “We are delighted the Council has approved the Airport’s request for slightly longer operating hours. This is essential if we are to grow the business and attract aviation engineering businesses to Biggin Hill.
“We would like to thank the 31,500 residents who registered their support for the proposals. We have enjoyed a huge amount of public support from the Biggin Hill community and we couldn’t have done it without them.
“We now look forward to working with the GLA, Bromley Council and neighbouring Boroughs in pushing forward the LoCate initiative which aims to create 2,300 new high quality, well paid jobs by 2030 in the aviation engineering sector. With these changes, Biggin Hill can become a 21st century centre of excellence in the business aviation industry - the quietest sector of aviation.”
The plans were controversial from the outset, and when Bromley Council launched a consultation into the extension of operating hours for the airport, it received a mixed response. Around three quarters of those who responded (31,500 people) supported the airports proposals, while the remainder (around 10,000) were not in favour of extending the operating hours. The consultation ran between January and March, giving residents the chance to give their views on an extension of operating hours.
Mr Curtis said that he recognised the plans were controversial, and committed the airport to working with the local council to make sure the proposals worked for everyone.
He said: “We do recognise that there remain a significant number of people that continue to have legitimate concerns and our door is always open to them. We will now re-double our efforts and work with the Council to develop a comprehensive noise mitigation strategy so we can deliver our promise to reduce the agreed noise footprint of the Airport by half.”
The final agreement will be ratified by the council following discussions with the airport.
Cllr Carr added: “I would like to thank each and every person who did respond to our consultation as this has been helpful. There is still work to do with Biggin Hill Airport Limited before there is a formal agreement. It is important now that everyone comes together to achieve the best possible outcomes for all concerned, which has always been our focus.”
The extended hours are between 6.30am and 11pm from Monday to Saturday, and 8am to 11pm on Sundays and public holidays. This increases by an hour in the evening between Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 8pm during weekends and public holidays.
There are also restrictions on the number of flights that can take place in certain windows, with no more than eight flights allowed to depart or land in the first half an hour of the day between Monday and Saturday, and no more than eight flights allowed to depart or land in the final hour of the day.