Snowdonia Aerospace Centre launches public consultation for Llanbedr Airfield

Snowdonia Aerospace has successfully launched a public Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) consultation on a proposed change to the airspace designation around Llanbedr Airfield. The consultation began on Monday 7th December 2020 and will run for 7 weeks, closing on Friday 22nd January 2021.

The Snowdonia Aerospace Centre (SAC) is a UK centre of excellence for the testing of next-generation aircraft such as drones, electric aircraft, urban and regional air mobility vehicles, high altitude balloons, airships and near-space testing vehicles. The proposed airspace change is to create a permanent Danger Area that will enable and further enhance SAC’s ability to support innovation in the UK aerospace sector by meeting increased demand for flight testing of various novel aerospace systems and future flight technologies.

The Danger Area will be permanent in terms of its designation, but will be ‘active’ only as and when required, otherwise it will remain open to all air traffic. The proposal is part of a sustainable long-term multi use Masterplan for Llanbedr Airfield that could contribute up to 515 jobs and £19.5 million per year to the local economy once fully developed.

In preparation for the Public Consultation – Step 3a, SAC contracted Osprey to produce a report on the environmental aspects of the ACP in line with CAP1616 regulatory requirements set by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Given that ACP’s can vary significantly in terms of complexity, size and environmental impact, the CAA recognise that the extent of environmental assessment will vary from case to case. SAC believed that the nature of anticipated operations at Llanbedr Airfield (consistent with the airfields heritage / established use and those undertaken over recent years via a previously approved Temporary Danger Area), combined with the low population density in the local area would result in a scenario whereby there was potential to justify a more focused environmental analysis than would be required for a traditional ACP.

As experts in the ACP process, Osprey provided structured and evidenced arguments to support SAC’s position in respect of the environmental assessments applicable to the ACP application including noise, overflight, CO2 emissions, local air quality, impacts on tranquillity and biodiversity. The final environmental report delivered by Osprey met with the satisfaction of the CAA and was issued as part of the formal documentation to support public consultation activities.

Nigel Ibbetson, Airports & Airspace Team Leader at Osprey said “It has been a pleasure to support SAC in assessing the environmental impact of their proposed ACP. Osprey has a solid track record in delivering both simple and highly complex airspace changes and this is a great example of how we have used our detailed knowledge of the CAP1616 process to come up with a novel approach that meets the satisfaction of the CAA.”

Lee Paul, Chief Executive Officer at SAC added “Osprey provided us with a professional and expert justification to support our initial environmental analysis and enabled us to successfully pass this integral part of the CAA process.”

Full details of the Llanbedr ACP and supporting documentation can be access via the CAA online portal: https://airspacechange.caa.co.uk/PublicProposalArea?pID=193

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