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Olympic Win for Dunsfold Aerodrome as Waverley Decision Overturned

Monday, 11 June 2012

Dunsfold Aerodrome was celebrating a victory against Waverley Borough Council this week when they won both Appeals against restrictions imposed to an application to extend operational flying hours for the Olympics.

The success of the Appeals allows for extended hours of operation from 07:00 to 21:00 each day from 21st July to 15th August 2012, including Saturdays and Sundays, as well as an increase in air traffic movements.

In overturning Waverley's decision the Inspector referred to the current Government's policy, The Future of Air Transport White Paper 2003 (ATWP), to agree that "the increase in noise levels would not amount to significant adverse impact on any local community over the short timescale", confirming that Dunsfold, "with its long, hard-surfaced runway and associated facilities, appears well-placed to make use of this opportunity but could be impeded by weekend flying restrictions". He also supported the Aerodrome's view that "the formal designation of Dunsfold Park as an Olympic Co-ordinated Airport with up to 76 slots per day allocated by Regulation speaks for itself as to its status as an airport."

He also stated that, under the new National Planning Policy Framework, "the planning system should ensure support for economic growth and existing business (like Dunsfold Aerodrome) by including flexible working practices and without investment being over-burdened by planning restrictions."

Contrary to the Local Authority's stance on the matter, the Inspector concluded that "with regard to Sunday flights, it stands to reasons that, with Olympic events programmed for every day of the Games including Sundays,...that Sundays are just as important to Olympic related flights as weekdays."

A spokesperson for Dunsfold Park Ltd comments: "We are delighted that the Inspector recognised the important contribution to business aviation small airports like Dunsfold Aerodrome can offer and is enabling us to make the best use of our existing airport facilities in time for the Games. The London Olympic Games 2012 is a world event of exceptional national sporting and economic importance, strongly supported by the Government, and we are very pleased that we will now have the opportunity to be able to fully engage in this momentous occasion."

Over 500,000 international visitors are expected during the Games with forecasts of over 3,000 extra private jet flights anticipated, in addition to 700 more charter flights during July and August, as travellers make their way to London. The extension to Dunsfold Aerodrome's operating hours and air traffic movements over the Olympic period means they are now able to support some of the extra air traffic and provide parking provision seven days a week.