Flightpath Watch was notified yesterday by Bromley Council that Biggin Hill Airport Ltd (BHAL) has applied to change the Permitted User Clause of the Lease to include the acceptance of fare-paying passengers.
At present only flights chartered for business use, private flying and a few other minor categories are permitted. The introduction of fare-paying passengers will, without any doubt, increase the number of large aircraft and could very likely be the precursor to the introduction of scheduled flights, with the associated changes in local infrastructure.
For your information, the promised 50,000 cap on movements cannot be applied going forward because the language used by the Council to define it totally negates its applicability after the first five years. The noise parameters approved by the Council are also unhelpful because they are based on average measures over 16-hour periods, including periods of silence.
It also needs to be noted that BHAL has so far failed to respect certain important aspects of the NAP (Noise Action Plan) and the MIL (Management Information Letter). Any further concessions to the terms of the Lease would therefore be unreasonable.
This application is as serious for residents as the application to increase the operating hours at the airport in 2014. Because of lockdown, over the past year we have not been seeing the full effect of the increase in operating hours and BHAL is now making more demands.
Residents need to react quickly to lodge objections because the application will be discussed at the meeting of the Council Executive on 26th May 2021. This short timeline is probably due to the BHAL’s threat to take the Council to a Tribunal if the request is not approved by 2nd June 2021.
The request to carry fare-paying passengers was successfully fought off by the Council at the High Courts in 2002. It was also rejected in 2011 when some loosening was requested on the occasion of the Olympics.
Informal advice given to us in 2015 stated that the Property Law clause BHAL is now trying to use with reference to “the Tribunal” cannot be applied in the case of Biggin Hill airport because of its connection with a local authority and not a private landlord.
Nevertheless, we have seen the Council become progressively more and more biased towards the Airport and we cannot underestimate the seriousness of this threat, particularly in the absence of an effective 50,000 cap on flights.
Please write to your councillors as soon as possible and certainly by 23rd May 2021, with a copy to the Leader of the Council, who will chair the meeting of the Executive next week, to express your objections in the firmest possible terms. Reasons to be given can be derived from our comments above. For instance: the Permitted User Clause is fundamental to the Lease as originally granted with the aim of protecting local residents the 50,000 cap had a 5 year limit which will soon expire
the longer operating hours have already attracted large and low-flying aircraft over residential areas the NAP and the MIL are not being complied with in certain important parts and no more concessions should be considered in the current circumstances residents are being discriminated against in net favour of the Airport, or any other expression of how increased activity at the Airport would affect you.
The email address of the Leader of the Council is: Colin.firstname.lastname@example.org and you will find your councillors at the following link:
You can also help by cascading this information to your neighbours, friends or local organisations who you think will be affected if the Council agrees to this change.
Please do not put this off. Drop a few lines now just addressing those issues that affect you.
Thank you for your help
Flightpath Watch Ltd