Airport Safeguarding

Airport Safeguarding is the process designed to make sure all appropriate processes are followed which ensure development in the vicinity of airports that could have an impact upon the continuity of safe operations is in accordance with current aeronautical legislation. Its purpose is to ensure that the continuity of safe operations is unaffected.

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The Process

The Government re-issued arrangements for airport safeguarding on the 10th February 2003 through ODPM Circular 1/2003 which includes the text of the Town and Country Planning (Safeguarded Aerodromes, Technical Sites and Military Explosives Storage Areas) Direction 2002.

Safeguarding is achieved by a process of checking proposed developments as to:

  • Protect blocks or air through which aircraft fly, by preventing penetration of surfaces created to identify their lower limits.
  • Protect the integrity of radar and other electronic aid to air navigation, by preventing reflections and diffraction of the radio signals involved.
  • Protect visual aids, such as Approach and Runway lighting, by preventing them from being obscured, or preventing the installation of other lights which could be confused for them.
  • Avoid any increase in the risk to aircraft of a bird strike by preventing an increase in hazardous bird species in the vicinity of the aerodrome and, whenever the opportunity arises, to reduce the level of risk.

The safeguarding map can be seen at the offices of the local planning authority or at the Airport.


  • Cranes – Within 6km – At least 4 weeks’ notice required; 8 weeks recommended prior to crane operation

Note: if this timescale is not met there may be a delay in issuing the permit due to the required response from regulatory bodies.

  • Buildings – As part of Local Planning Application but early consultation is advised.
  • Wind Turbines Within 30km – As part of Local Planning Application but early consultation is advised.

Where in a proposed development the height of a building or structure would exceed the level indicated on the safeguarding map for that area the local planning authority is required to consult the Airport. Consultation is also required in any case within a 13 km zone marked on the map where the proposed development is for other aviation uses or is likely to attract birds and to wind farm developments within a 30 km radius.

Consultation applies not only to applications for full or outline planning permission but also to applications for the amendment of an outline planning permission, for the renewal of a planning permission or for the removal or modification of conditions imposed on a previous planning permission. In addition, there are restrictions on the use of cranes and other tall plant within 6km of the airport.

When consulted the Airport considers whether the proposed development might compromise the safe operation of the aerodrome or interfere with the navigational aids or Instrument Flight Procedures (IFP) and offers its comments accordingly. If then the local planning authority proposes to grant planning permission contrary to an objection made by the Airport or not to attach conditions which they have recommended, it is required to notify Cambridge Airport and we will notify the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and MOD.

Consultation Fees

Cambridge Airport levies the following charges for their services:

Standard Crane Permit (Min 5 working days’ notice) – £380 + VAT.

  • Crane Permit Extension – £220 + VAT
  • Instrumental Flight Procedure Assessment (if required) – Price on Application
  • Collision Risk Management Assessment (if required) – Price on Application
  • Technical Assessment (if required) – TBN on application.

Public Safety Zones

Cambridge Airport has two Public Safety Zones; these are areas of land at the ends of the runway within which development is restricted to control the number of people on the ground at risk of death or injury in the event of an aircraft accident on take-off or landing. These are not strictly within safeguarding but are monitored by the airport.

Flying Drones

For guidance on the safety rules that apply when flying unmanned and model aircraft, please visit the CAA website.

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Talking to the Airport

To ensure Cambridge City Airport continues to work in harmony with local councils and developers we realise that the earlier we are engaged in any projects that may have an effect upon the safe operation of aircraft in this area the easier it will be to come to a mutual agreement. We actively encourage developers to address Airport safeguarding issues at the start of a project and encourage contact with Cambridge City Airport well before finalising their schemes and submitting an application for planning permission. This should include plans for using cranes and other tall plant.

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