Issue - meetings

National Police Air Service Relocation

Meeting: 07/09/2017 - Cabinet (Item 40)

40 National Police Air Service - Potential Relocation to North Weald Airfield pdf icon PDF 199 KB

(Asset Management & Economic Development Portfolio Holder) To consider the attached report (C-011-2017/18).

Additional documents:


(1)        That a lease, under the proposed general terms outlined within the report, be entered into with the National Police Air Service for an operational base at North Weald Airfield; and


(2)        That agreement of the final detailed terms of the lease be delegated to the Portfolio Holder for Asset Management & Economic Development, in consultation with the Director of Neighbourhoods.


The Portfolio Holder for Asset Management & Economic Development presented a report on the potential relocation of the National Police Air Service to North Weald Airfield.


The Portfolio Holder stated that the National Police Air Service (NPAS) provided air support to the 43 Police forces of England and Wales from a network of 15 bases. NPAS had been given notice to leave their current location at Lippitts Hill when their lease expired on 31 March 2018. They were looking initially for a temporary site to relocate their operation in the short-term with a view to establishing a permanent base. North Weald as an active operational Airfield, geographically well located to suit their operational requirements, had been identified by NPAS as a potential site to re-base and discussions had been opened with the Council.


The Portfolio Holder reported that NPAS wanted to operate three helicopters and a fixed wing aircraft from the airfield at North Weald, and they would initially require one acre of land to construct a hangar of 1,225 sq m as well as some portable office accommodation for support staff. Subject to planning approval, NPAS would then seek to build a more permanent facility of a similar scale, and a suitable site which would not adversely affect other users had been identified by the Airfield management. NPAS would require 24 hour operation, 365 days a year, and it was estimated that the average air movements would be approximately 20,000 per annum (in comparison to 1,300 for the Air Ambulance).


The Portfolio Holder informed the Cabinet that a number of environmental assessments had been carried out. These studies had concluded that the proposal could be progressed without significant adverse effects for the local community or environment, and to ensure that this was the case, it was proposed that a number of noise monitoring stations should be installed in sensitive locations around the Airfield.


The Portfolio Holder explained that negotiations with NPAS had reached provisional agreement on the terms of the lease, for a period of 25 years with an initial annual payment of £120,000 split between rent and landing rights for a maximum of 20,000 movements per year. NPAS would meet the capital costs of their hangar and office accommodation; full details had been included in the report.


The Portfolio Holder concluded that the Cabinet would need to balance the likely environmental impact against the potential revenue benefits to the Council of the proposal, which was in line with the Council’s stated objective of intensifying aviation activity at the Airfield, and considered alongside the Council’s role as a public body in supporting the Police in ensuring community safety and crime reduction.


The Cabinet generally welcomed the report and the preservation of aviation at the Airfield. Cllr Stallan, one of the local ward Members for North Weald Bassett, also supported the report and the views of residents had been generally favourable. In response to questions from Cllr Stallan, the Portfolio Holder stated that NPAS would provide extra security for their site,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40