Campaigners ask government to take control of air traffic at Wycombe Air Park

Campaigners ask government to take control of air traffic at Wycombe Air Park

Campaigners ask government to take control of air traffic at Wycombe Air Park

First published in News by

NOISE pollution campaigners have asked the government to step in and take direct control of air traffic at Wycombe Air Park.

Wycombe Air Park Action Group, which was formed last year by residents who were angry about noisy planes, has lodged an application with secretary of state Geoff Hoon for the Department for Transport (DfT) for 'specification’ of the air park in accordance with the Civil Aviation Act.

If it is successful air traffic from the site in Booker, Great Marlow, will be regulated by the DfT and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the same way as the largest UK airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick. Currently, it is effectively self regulated.

An unsuccessful application was brought by Wycombe District Council in the late 1980s. WAPAG spokesman Richard Wetenhall, said: “We are saddened and frustrated that we have been forced to take the unusual step of applying to the DfT for a specification order.

“However, the complete breakdown of all attempts to work constructively with the Air Park leaves us with no alternative. As the law stands, the only bodies that can resolve the impasse are the DfT and the CAA.”

WAPAG’s move follows both Hambleden Parish Council and Lane End Parish Council suspending their membership of the Wycombe Air Park Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), in protest at the way in which it is run – including barring members of the public from its meetings three times in 2008.

Among WAPAG's aims are the fitting of secondary silencers to aircraft operating out of the park, an end to circuit flight training fat weekends and on Public Holidays and an no more helicopter   training at the site.

Wycombe Air Park, which was built in 1967, provides flight training for pilots and the National Air Traffic Service’s trainee air traffic control cadets.

Airpark manager Tim Orchard would not comment on WAPAG's aims.

However, in response to the parish councils' decision not to send a representative to meetings of the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) he said: “Those parish councils are entitled to send a representative to JCC meetings.

“They have chosen not to which means they are no longer able to influence the JCC on behalf of their parishioners.”

Wycombe MP Paul Goodman, whose constituency includes the air park, said: “I'd be completely opposed to any proposal to close Wycombe Air Park. However, I'm not convinced that the balance of the law is currently fair between users and residents.

“It hasn't really been substantially revised for over 20 years - and there's been considerable growth in air traffic during that period, particularly of helicopter flights.

“I haven't seen the details of the action group's application, so I can’t comment on it, but I think it's important for relations between the people who run the air park and local residents to be as open as possible, and for there to be the widest possible access to meetings held by the Joint Consultative Committee."

Comments (27)

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7:57am Thu 26 Mar 09

Tharus Bond says...

A load of old cobblers! Why should they have to stop training?
A load of old cobblers! Why should they have to stop training? Tharus Bond
  • Score: 0

8:04am Thu 26 Mar 09

Regular Poster says...

Are there 2 Booker airfields? The one I lived near i.e. under the flight path at Havenfield for nearly 20 years was not noisy at all. Yes there is a volume of traffic but please it's not noisy.
The noisest plane was the Spitfire and I'd never tire of hearing that noise over-head.
Are there 2 Booker airfields? The one I lived near i.e. under the flight path at Havenfield for nearly 20 years was not noisy at all. Yes there is a volume of traffic but please it's not noisy. The noisest plane was the Spitfire and I'd never tire of hearing that noise over-head. Regular Poster
  • Score: 0

8:16am Thu 26 Mar 09

wierdo says...

These people make me sick! They are probably the same people campaigning to close Heathrow down.

Get a life. If you bought a house in the area since 1967 then put up & shut up. If you have lived there since before that, then you have had plenty of chance to move on.

I know people who have trained there, and already you would not believe the noise reduction procedures that every flight takes.

Stop complaining people. But whatever you do, make sure you dont go on holiday on a plane this year because:

a) you will be making someone elses life a misery because of the noise your plane is generating (you said that!)

and b) your pilot will pobably not be qualified as YOU stopped him or her from training.

Muppets.
These people make me sick! They are probably the same people campaigning to close Heathrow down. Get a life. If you bought a house in the area since 1967 then put up & shut up. If you have lived there since before that, then you have had plenty of chance to move on. I know people who have trained there, and already you would not believe the noise reduction procedures that every flight takes. Stop complaining people. But whatever you do, make sure you dont go on holiday on a plane this year because: a) you will be making someone elses life a misery because of the noise your plane is generating (you said that!) and b) your pilot will pobably not be qualified as YOU stopped him or her from training. Muppets. wierdo
  • Score: 0

8:43am Thu 26 Mar 09

bmkfa0369 says...

Noise pollution campaigners,I didnt know you existed. Could you have a look at my van heater it sounds like a cement mixer full of ball bearings.The knock effect being that I have to turn my radio up to 60 to hear it!As you can imagine A pretty noisy unit driving along our leafy lanes. little chance for me to hear the beauty of the spitfire.The splutter of the cessna or the woosh of the glider
Noise pollution campaigners,I didnt know you existed. Could you have a look at my van heater it sounds like a cement mixer full of ball bearings.The knock effect being that I have to turn my radio up to 60 to hear it!As you can imagine A pretty noisy unit driving along our leafy lanes. little chance for me to hear the beauty of the spitfire.The splutter of the cessna or the woosh of the glider bmkfa0369
  • Score: 0

8:53am Thu 26 Mar 09

Bogart says...

Don't move to an area then start complaining about it. Aircraft have been flying out of Booker for 70 years (since 1939), when No.50 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School were in residence, and flying Tiger Moths, Hawker Audax and Hawker Hinds.

Any normal person who is considering moving to any area will have conducted a survey prior to completion.

I've lived under the flight path for both Booker (WAP) and London Heathrow for 46 years and any noise has never bothered me.

I bet these are the same people who go to Spain for their holidays, can't speak Spanish and complain about there being too many foreigners.
And I wonder where the pilot of their charter flight first learned to fly and built up his hours to go commercial by towing gliders ?

Bloody NIMBY's really get on my wick.
Don't move to an area then start complaining about it. Aircraft have been flying out of Booker for 70 years (since 1939), when No.50 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School were in residence, and flying Tiger Moths, Hawker Audax and Hawker Hinds. Any normal person who is considering moving to any area will have conducted a survey prior to completion. I've lived under the flight path for both Booker (WAP) and London Heathrow for 46 years and any noise has never bothered me. I bet these are the same people who go to Spain for their holidays, can't speak Spanish and complain about there being too many foreigners. And I wonder where the pilot of their charter flight first learned to fly and built up his hours to go commercial by towing gliders ? Bloody NIMBY's really get on my wick. Bogart
  • Score: 0

8:56am Thu 26 Mar 09

wierdo says...

Further to my previous post, although the air park was technically built in 1967, it has been operating as an airfield or aerodrome since 1939, when it was used to train second world war pilots.

Luckly, the locals back then didnt complain about the noise - otherwise you moaning muppets would be whining in german.

stay-wing
Further to my previous post, although the air park was technically built in 1967, it has been operating as an airfield or aerodrome since 1939, when it was used to train second world war pilots. Luckly, the locals back then didnt complain about the noise - otherwise you moaning muppets would be whining in german. stay-wing wierdo
  • Score: 0

8:58am Thu 26 Mar 09

Bogart says...

PS. Noisiest aircraft I remember at Booker was the 747 that did an EXTREMELY low pass at one of the airshows back in the early 70's.

Ah, they were the days.
PS. Noisiest aircraft I remember at Booker was the 747 that did an EXTREMELY low pass at one of the airshows back in the early 70's. Ah, they were the days. Bogart
  • Score: 0

9:36am Thu 26 Mar 09

Steve of Penn says...

When I was a lad in the Air Training Corps (15 odd years ago), I took part in a charity event for disabled children, there were six plus helicopters taking a child up in the air for a 5 min circuit of the airfield.

I don't remember the noise being excessive, but I do remember the smiles as wide as their faces on the children after their free ride. Booker is much more then just a small airfield it is now and again the focus of the community and giving.

I am sure these events still take place and the airfield as a whole is a large benefit to the local community.

Perhaps the local residents should prepare themselves for more traffic rather then less as High Wycombe business and industry grows. The airfield can expect to be used more often for private aircraft.

On the point of traffic and local residents, I can only imagine the people being affected are those living n Claymore Park and Clayhill (and maybe a few living in the top end of Cressex Road. There are certainly only a very few residents in the area to be kicking up a fuss over the noise of aircraft when they live next to an airfield!

Booker Airfield needs to be expanded if anything, inline with the growth of High Wycombe and its business interest.
When I was a lad in the Air Training Corps (15 odd years ago), I took part in a charity event for disabled children, there were six plus helicopters taking a child up in the air for a 5 min circuit of the airfield. I don't remember the noise being excessive, but I do remember the smiles as wide as their faces on the children after their free ride. Booker is much more then just a small airfield it is now and again the focus of the community and giving. I am sure these events still take place and the airfield as a whole is a large benefit to the local community. Perhaps the local residents should prepare themselves for more traffic rather then less as High Wycombe business and industry grows. The airfield can expect to be used more often for private aircraft. On the point of traffic and local residents, I can only imagine the people being affected are those living n Claymore Park and Clayhill (and maybe a few living in the top end of Cressex Road. There are certainly only a very few residents in the area to be kicking up a fuss over the noise of aircraft when they live next to an airfield! Booker Airfield needs to be expanded if anything, inline with the growth of High Wycombe and its business interest. Steve of Penn
  • Score: 0

9:42am Thu 26 Mar 09

wayneo says...

Bogart wrote:
PS. Noisiest aircraft I remember at Booker was the 747 that did an EXTREMELY low pass at one of the airshows back in the early 70's. Ah, they were the days.
I think it was a VC10 and I have a photograph of it somewhere. Naughty but no doubt incredibly good fun to watch, there was also Fred Secker (ex Wycombe Mayor) who landed a Lancaster Bomber at Booker for a spot of lunch.

Dudley Steynor's accounts from his time as a flying instructor during the war are a good read too.

http://www.steynor.n
et/blog/blogger.html


Dudley
[quote][p][bold]Bogart[/bold] wrote: PS. Noisiest aircraft I remember at Booker was the 747 that did an EXTREMELY low pass at one of the airshows back in the early 70's. Ah, they were the days. [/p][/quote]I think it was a VC10 and I have a photograph of it somewhere. Naughty but no doubt incredibly good fun to watch, there was also Fred Secker (ex Wycombe Mayor) who landed a Lancaster Bomber at Booker for a spot of lunch. Dudley Steynor's accounts from his time as a flying instructor during the war are a good read too. http://www.steynor.n et/blog/blogger.html Dudley wayneo
  • Score: 0

10:29am Thu 26 Mar 09

wierdo says...

Where are these campaigners? Is there not a single one of them who can come on here and put their point accross?
Where are these campaigners? Is there not a single one of them who can come on here and put their point accross? wierdo
  • Score: 0

10:29am Thu 26 Mar 09

Tref says...

I can picture it now - government take control, get to know the airport a bit better and realize this is the ideal location and turn Wycombe Air Park into the new 'London Gateway' airport. Sometimes the devil you know if better. Doh!
I can picture it now - government take control, get to know the airport a bit better and realize this is the ideal location and turn Wycombe Air Park into the new 'London Gateway' airport. Sometimes the devil you know if better. Doh! Tref
  • Score: 0

10:36am Thu 26 Mar 09

Blaze Falconburger says...

@wayneo thanks for the Dudley Steynor link, I won't be doing any work today - very fascinating!

I can just imagine the government within a few years adding a terminal or 2 at Booker. What would the campaigners do then, start a campaign group and complain to.. oh hang on, they'll just encourage another terminal!
@wayneo thanks for the Dudley Steynor link, I won't be doing any work today - very fascinating! I can just imagine the government within a few years adding a terminal or 2 at Booker. What would the campaigners do then, start a campaign group and complain to.. oh hang on, they'll just encourage another terminal! Blaze Falconburger
  • Score: 0

10:39am Thu 26 Mar 09

wierdo says...

Its funnier than that Tref:

http://www.bucksfree
press.co.uk/search/2
411408.Air_park_camp
aigners_welcome_stad
ium_proposal/

Apparently 10,000 people and cars turning up every weekend, along with the cheering / shouting etc that goes with it is preferable.

Its funnier than that Tref: http://www.bucksfree press.co.uk/search/2 411408.Air_park_camp aigners_welcome_stad ium_proposal/ Apparently 10,000 people and cars turning up every weekend, along with the cheering / shouting etc that goes with it is preferable. wierdo
  • Score: 0

10:44am Thu 26 Mar 09

parcelman says...

They could make it a third runway for Heathrow and save a little village
They could make it a third runway for Heathrow and save a little village parcelman
  • Score: 0

10:47am Thu 26 Mar 09

wayneo says...

Blaze Falconburger wrote:
@wayneo thanks for the Dudley Steynor link, I won't be doing any work today - very fascinating! I can just imagine the government within a few years adding a terminal or 2 at Booker. What would the campaigners do then, start a campaign group and complain to.. oh hang on, they'll just encourage another terminal!
You're welcome mate, I particularly like the part where he found himself in a Tiger Moth amongst thousands of allied aircraft and gliders on their way to I believe Holland; many of those whom he had trained to fly.
[quote][p][bold]Blaze Falconburger[/bold] wrote: @wayneo thanks for the Dudley Steynor link, I won't be doing any work today - very fascinating! I can just imagine the government within a few years adding a terminal or 2 at Booker. What would the campaigners do then, start a campaign group and complain to.. oh hang on, they'll just encourage another terminal! [/p][/quote]You're welcome mate, I particularly like the part where he found himself in a Tiger Moth amongst thousands of allied aircraft and gliders on their way to I believe Holland; many of those whom he had trained to fly. wayneo
  • Score: 0

1:55pm Thu 26 Mar 09

Tref says...

Sorry WAPAG - it seems you're not getting much support from the Wycombe townfolk. Has anyone on the WAPAG team been living in the Wycombe Airpark area since before it was an airfield?

Sorry WAPAG - it seems you're not getting much support from the Wycombe townfolk. Has anyone on the WAPAG team been living in the Wycombe Airpark area since before it was an airfield? Tref
  • Score: 0

9:47pm Thu 26 Mar 09

crommington says...

This is the same thing that happens with race tracks. They are built in the middle of nowhere and then a developer decides to build 3 random houses nearby 20 years later, and the new residents complain and the tracks loose every time! Ridiculous!!
This is the same thing that happens with race tracks. They are built in the middle of nowhere and then a developer decides to build 3 random houses nearby 20 years later, and the new residents complain and the tracks loose every time! Ridiculous!! crommington
  • Score: 0

6:28am Fri 27 Mar 09

timmyo says...

The complaints are about two things. Helicopters, and bad flying.

Helicopters are relatively new. They have started up well after my family moved into our house. Nobody ever consulted anyone about it. Is that fair?

Bad flying. Planes are meant to follow a specific route. They don't. There have been more than 1200 complaints in the last year about this.

They aren't trying to close the airpark - read the article again.
The complaints are about two things. Helicopters, and bad flying. Helicopters are relatively new. They have started up well after my family moved into our house. Nobody ever consulted anyone about it. Is that fair? Bad flying. Planes are meant to follow a specific route. They don't. There have been more than 1200 complaints in the last year about this. They aren't trying to close the airpark - read the article again. timmyo
  • Score: 0

8:04am Fri 27 Mar 09

Regular Poster says...

Helicopters at Booker are NOT a new thing. In the 80's they were flying around all the time. Granted they were mainly those that were built on site rather than the bigger commercial ones for hire but they were still there.
Helicopters at Booker are NOT a new thing. In the 80's they were flying around all the time. Granted they were mainly those that were built on site rather than the bigger commercial ones for hire but they were still there. Regular Poster
  • Score: 0

8:58am Fri 27 Mar 09

timmyo says...

Two points.

First, it's not fair to say that 'everyone who lives in the area knew about the Air Park when they moved in etc'. That can't be applied to helicopters. We've been in our house since well before the helicopters arrived. Yes, before the 1980s.

Nobody has ever consulted anyone about helicopters moving in. Nor helicopter training moving in (which is more recent still). Nor about the number of heli movements going from 4500 to 19000 annually in the last ten years. The Council could have used planning powers to regulate it, but has not done so.

Most people in HW wouldn't be aware of that because they aren't affected by it. But if you're in Lane End, 19000 flights a year means they're almost permanently flying round you.
Two points. First, it's not fair to say that 'everyone who lives in the area knew about the Air Park when they moved in etc'. That can't be applied to helicopters. We've been in our house since well before the helicopters arrived. Yes, before the 1980s. Nobody has ever consulted anyone about helicopters moving in. Nor helicopter training moving in (which is more recent still). Nor about the number of heli movements going from 4500 to 19000 annually in the last ten years. The Council could have used planning powers to regulate it, but has not done so. Most people in HW wouldn't be aware of that because they aren't affected by it. But if you're in Lane End, 19000 flights a year means they're almost permanently flying round you. timmyo
  • Score: 0

10:26am Fri 27 Mar 09

Bogart says...

Depending on which way the wind is blowing, there are two circuits: a left one and a right one - one for gliders (and tugs)and one for all other powered aircraft. These circuits switch when the wind direction changes.
Do the helicopters join the final approach, or do they 'do their own thing' ? - I don't know. I do know that I had to look out for them when I used to fly.
I also know they buzz over Marlow Bottom, but having lived there for so long, I really don't notice it anymore. Same with the motorway noise, Heathrow approach from the Lambourne and Bovingdon stacks (directly above my house, that's why there are certain restrictions on flying over Marlow Bottom), the shoots (poor birds), the bloke over the road's motorcycle and my neighbours lawn mower.

Depending on which way the wind is blowing, there are two circuits: a left one and a right one - one for gliders (and tugs)and one for all other powered aircraft. These circuits switch when the wind direction changes. Do the helicopters join the final approach, or do they 'do their own thing' ? - I don't know. I do know that I had to look out for them when I used to fly. I also know they buzz over Marlow Bottom, but having lived there for so long, I really don't notice it anymore. Same with the motorway noise, Heathrow approach from the Lambourne and Bovingdon stacks (directly above my house, that's why there are certain restrictions on flying over Marlow Bottom), the shoots (poor birds), the bloke over the road's motorcycle and my neighbours lawn mower. Bogart
  • Score: 0

1:04pm Fri 27 Mar 09

Craig.... says...

Who are these people? Do they really have nothing better to do with their time than complain about these things? Its pathetic. If you are that bothered MOVE HOUSE! As has already been said several times the air park has been there for years and is an important facility both locally and nationally.

Perhaps some of the 'protestors' would like to spend their spare time doing something positive for the local community? Bit of volunteer works perhaps?

Thought not.
Who are these people? Do they really have nothing better to do with their time than complain about these things? Its pathetic. If you are that bothered MOVE HOUSE! As has already been said several times the air park has been there for years and is an important facility both locally and nationally. Perhaps some of the 'protestors' would like to spend their spare time doing something positive for the local community? Bit of volunteer works perhaps? Thought not. Craig....
  • Score: 0

2:13pm Fri 27 Mar 09

timmyo says...

Quite why someone from Coventry should have such a strong opinion is interesting in itself.

Many people in Lane End have spent their whole life there. Their friends, their life, their family is there.

A blight has been imposed on them in recent years with no consultation. It's not aircraft, it's helicopters. Why should they have to tear up their roots, move house and face all the costs associated with that?

All it would take is a reasonable discussion and the problem could probably be resolved. What's lacking is any willingness at Booker to listen.

This is not about closing the airfield.

As for volunteer works, I already do them. Do you?
Quite why someone from Coventry should have such a strong opinion is interesting in itself. Many people in Lane End have spent their whole life there. Their friends, their life, their family is there. A blight has been imposed on them in recent years with no consultation. It's not aircraft, it's helicopters. Why should they have to tear up their roots, move house and face all the costs associated with that? All it would take is a reasonable discussion and the problem could probably be resolved. What's lacking is any willingness at Booker to listen. This is not about closing the airfield. As for volunteer works, I already do them. Do you? timmyo
  • Score: 0

5:37pm Fri 27 Mar 09

sagaship says...

Soof you are mis-informed. The facts are not as described. I have it on absolute authority that Booker met with the helicopter noise lobbyists for a compromise. The noise lobbyists wanted nothing bu ttheir own agenda. They offered no compromise. Even a recent olive branch from Booker was turned-down out of hand.Best if incorrect rumour isn't encouraged, I'd say.
Soof you are mis-informed. The facts are not as described. I have it on absolute authority that Booker met with the helicopter noise lobbyists for a compromise. The noise lobbyists wanted nothing bu ttheir own agenda. They offered no compromise. Even a recent olive branch from Booker was turned-down out of hand.Best if incorrect rumour isn't encouraged, I'd say. sagaship
  • Score: 0

7:26pm Fri 27 Mar 09

timmyo says...

Hey sagaship, if the facts are as you describe, that's the first I've heard of such a meeting or an offer of compromise!

As you say yourself, best if incorrect rumour isn't encouraged.
Hey sagaship, if the facts are as you describe, that's the first I've heard of such a meeting or an offer of compromise! As you say yourself, best if incorrect rumour isn't encouraged. timmyo
  • Score: 0

8:11am Sat 28 Mar 09

sagaship says...

If you ask the right uestions eventually the truth will out. All those businesses and employees, let alone those training for pilot ualifications (that we all reap the benefit of.... rescue helicopter pilots, north sea oil piots, police helicopter pilots, etc.)should be given a fair chance to train and practice at a bone fide, since 1936, airfield. Someone shoudl as the airport operator to dispel some of the myths being promulgated by WAPAG and its friends.
If you ask the right uestions eventually the truth will out. All those businesses and employees, let alone those training for pilot ualifications (that we all reap the benefit of.... rescue helicopter pilots, north sea oil piots, police helicopter pilots, etc.)should be given a fair chance to train and practice at a bone fide, since 1936, airfield. Someone shoudl as the airport operator to dispel some of the myths being promulgated by WAPAG and its friends. sagaship
  • Score: 0

8:59am Sat 28 Mar 09

timmyo says...

For some reason this argument is being positioned as either airfield or no airfield. That's not the point.

The issue is about inconsiderate flying from Booker in disregard of the impact on the people underneath the flight path.

Emotional language about no more rescue pilots, no medivac supplies is just a smokescreen. Pilots flying accurately and considerately is the issue.
For some reason this argument is being positioned as either airfield or no airfield. That's not the point. The issue is about inconsiderate flying from Booker in disregard of the impact on the people underneath the flight path. Emotional language about no more rescue pilots, no medivac supplies is just a smokescreen. Pilots flying accurately and considerately is the issue. timmyo
  • Score: 0

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