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Bromley Council approves longer operating hours for Biggin Hill Airport

  • 40 Councillors back the plans, just 12 oppose
  • Decision follows unprecedented consultation where 31,500 (76%) residents voted in favour of longer hours
  • Decision will enable Airport to deliver more jobs and less noise

 

The London Borough of Bromley has approved, in principle, the request by Biggin Hill Airport to extend its operating hours. The decision was made by the Council’s Executive Committee following a two hour debate of the Full Council and a vote in which 36 Councillors backed the plans and just 10 opposed. The Executive subsequently voted in favour by four votes to two.

The decision follows a Council consultation which attracted an unprecedented 41,711 responses, the largest single response to any Council consultation, in which 31,500 (76%) residents registered their support for the proposals. The response rate was significantly higher in the Council wards immediately around the Airport and from those most affected by the Airport’s operations. In Biggin Hill ward itself, almost one third of the adult population responded to the consultation, with over three quarters supporting the airport.

At the Executive Meeting last night, Council officers confirmed that independent studies had shown that the extended hours were vital in attracting new businesses. Biggin Hill management plan to create a business aviation hub, enticing airport related engineering, manufacturing and service centres. Every business aircraft based at Biggin creates an average of 8 jobs.

The extended hours will also enable the Airport to introduce a detailed programme of noise mitigation measures including comprehensive noise monitoring system for the first time and reduce its agreed noise footprint by 50%.

Will Curtis, Managing Director of Biggin Hill Airport, 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 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.

“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.”

Biggin Hill Airport and the Council will now negotiate a more detailed agreement to alter the operating hours for final approval by the Council later in the spring/early summer.

Notes to Editors

 

  1. Biggin Hill is London’s best Business and General Aviation airport and is one of the biggest employers in Bromley with 65 companies supporting over 1000 jobs. Biggin Hill creates jobs by providing a gateway to London, a home base for aircraft, aviation manufacturers and service centres. Every business aircraft based at Biggin creates 8 jobs.
  2. A full copy of the Council’s consultation results is available athttp://cds.bromley.gov.uk/documents/s50028812/Biggin%20Hill%20Airport%20Proposal%20to%20vary%20the%20Operating%20Hours.pdf.
  3. The Council’s consultation follows Biggin Hill’s own consultation carried out in October 2014, the results of which are available at www.bigginhillfuture.co.uk. A breakdown of the results are as follows:
  • 11,655 people answered yes, 2,405 people answered yes with reservations and 1,303 people answered no when asked, ‘Would you like to see an aviation college at Biggin Hill Airport?’
  • 11,800 people answered yes, 1,969 people answered yes with reservations and 1,229 people answered no when asked, ‘Do you support plans to bring 2,300 new jobs to Biggin Hill?’
  • 12,984 people answered yes, 1,436 people answered yes with reservations and 580 people answered no when asked, ‘Do you support plans to reduce the agreed noise footprint at the airport by 50%?’
  • 9,884 people answered yes, 2,589 people answered yes with reservations and 2,525 people answered no when asked, ‘Do you support the proposed new opening hours?’
  1. Over the course of Biggin Hill’s consultation, the airport also commissioned an independent poll to be carried out by Populus. Populus found that 79% of residents supported the airport’s plans for more flexible opening hours. Populus interviewed 1,001 adult residents (aged 18+) of the London Borough of Bromley by telephone between 15 and 23 October 2014. Results were weighted to be demographically representative of all adults in the borough. Populus is a founding member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules (www.britishpollingcouncil.org), which act to ensure its members: ‘can show…that the sampling methods and weighting procedures used are designed to accurately represent the views of all people within designated target groups (such as all adults, or voters etc)’.