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Setting Up Own airfield

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:01 pm
by Mark H
What would it take to set up your own airfield? I don't own land for this so would have to rent some space preferably in north Wicklow, South Dublin. Is this a realistic dream? I suppose 500m of grass would be more than sufficient, in fact 300m would be enough but I like the idea of extra in case things don't go according to plan or I get a faster aircraft. In the long term it would be nice to have a club close to Dublin.

Re: Setting Up Own airfield

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:39 pm
by martins
well have you checked EINC?

as for own airfield, I've done some research and so far this is what I've found: first you need to decide what type of airfield is it going to be - licensed or non-licensed. To license an airfield, it has to go through IAA process, but if you don't plan to use it for training/IFR, you don't need to have it licensed

next thing you will need a planing permission from your local county. It depends how the land is zoned, if it's residential/farm land, you probably won't be able to get permission for your strip, whereas if it's not zoned for anything, you might have a chance. For that matter, I don't think you can apply for a planning permission for a land that doesn't belong to you. To make things even worse, if there are neighbours near by they will probably say nay to the whole thing and that will be that...

then there's the usage - I was not able to find exact figures for Ireland, but if you intend to use the airfield exceeding certain number of days in a year you have to have the environmental impact analysis done to avoid fines, I read somewhere that in UK the number is 28 days per year, other countries allow different figures. Basically that means who ever does the analysis can either shut you down or limit you to certain number of take-off's/landings and certain type of aircraft.

As it often happens, if you want to do things in the right, legal way, bureaucracy will tear the skin off your bones and you won't get anywhere.. however, if you choose to keep that little strip of yours to yourself somewhere far from the greedy eyes, you might just get away with it. :roll: I'm not suggesting anything btw, all decisions at your own discretion please :)

anyway if anyone else has more or different findings, please share

Re: Setting Up Own airfield

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:55 pm
by hugoj_air

Just one point, you say "I don't think you can apply for a planning permission for land that doesn't belong to you". Unless new rules have come in recently, you can in fact apply for permission on land that you do not own. I done this myself for my sister who lived in London and was planning to buy a site here to build a house on. Permission was given with no problem at all. That was in 2006.

Mark H,

Wicklow ouch!! That county council hasn't a good record for requests to operate private airstrips. But if you are determined you will first have find a friendly willing farmer, most would a bit nervous about possible insurance claims if things go a bit wrong, not sure how you would get over that hump. A farmer interested in flying with suitable land would probably help. Unfortunately all that cuts your options and that's just the start.

martins idea to find suitable site and keep your head down MIGHT work, but all it takes is ONE complaint to the council and you can say goodbye to ever operating a private strip of your own.

Playing devil's advocate here.

It will happen, it could take years, rather than months IF you go down the legal, bureaucratic planning route and you can add to that all the cost's that will be involved. Don't get me wrong I would love to see another strip up and running.

martins suggested you should contact EINC/Newcastle. They are licensed for training, but they might be able to offer some good advice on how to proceed. Also get in touch with as many owners/operators of small strips as you can and get their views on what would be the best option for yourself. Get hold of the two Irish airstrip flight guides, they have contact details for all of them. I wish you the best of luck in your endevours, you WILL need it.


Re: Setting Up Own airfield

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:59 pm
by Mark H
Agree about EINC, it's a nice airfield with friendly atmosphere. It would be the first place that I'd want to visit. How is an environmental impact done?
From a planning point of view anyone can get planning permission not just the owner. The problem is what do you need for planning permission to get no fixed number of days usage and ridiculous things like that. I know that keeping a low profile will stop the NIMBYs. If they don't know what you're doing they shouldn't bother you.

Re: Setting Up Own airfield

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 10:33 pm
by Mark H

How much to get permission?
Environmental impact study cost?

I have no clue but rent outside the city couldnt be too high.

Re: Setting Up Own airfield

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:16 pm
by hugoj_air
Costs, that's one of the unknown biggie's. There are no set figures because for each permission and environmental impact study (if one is required) costs will definitely vary. Rent will be a matter for the owner and the tenant, which will depend on duration and type of tenancy. Other cost factors are: what kind of developments would be required to bring the site up to a safe operating standard.

ANY changes to the field such as leveling of the site, the introduction of hard surface of any description and the construction a shed/storage for use as a hangar WILL be deemed as development and WILL require full planning permission. On the other hand a flat suitable field with NO additional work and using an existing farm shed/store as a hangar MAY be exempt or only require outline permission, depending council policy regarding use of farm lands or other private lands for that matter.

Sadly every County Council in the country seems to have different rules and regulations regarding use and change of use of land, which makes it a total mine field out there. By the way I am not a specialist in this subject. I can only give you my take on past experiences and what I have noted down the years while building my database (link below). That's why I wished good luck in my previous post.


Re: Setting Up Own airfield

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:57 pm
by martins
I think your best bet is to go through a list of un-licensed airfields in the country and contact their owners, maybe pay them a visit and talk these things over a cuppa. If you have troubles getting such list, let me know, I have a brand new 1:250000 chart with non-licensed airfields on them, I'm sure we can google contact details for each of them.

The most important thing - even if you give up (but please don't) come back and update this thread with whatever findings you made so the knowledge is not lost

Re: Setting Up Own airfield

Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:58 am
by BDoyle
Just to clarify some points for you.
Planning Permission is required for the use of land as an airfield. An Bord Pleanala decided that the use of land for landing and taking off is a Material Change of Use and a Material Change of Use always need permission (even for model aircraft). So even where there is no 'works' (construction or demolition) carried out on the land the change in use is the issue. That decision must be followed by all Planning Authorities.
It is quite possible to get planning permission and each application is decided on its merits. Craughwell is a very good example even where there was considerable local objection. An Bord Pleanala agreed with the local planning authority (Galway County Council) and their decision to grant permission was upheld. Have a look at that Bord Pleanala decision on their web page.
An environmental impact statement would not be required for a small basic strip.
It can be costly to get the necessary documents together for an application and you will have to pay a planning fee.
Hope this helps.

Re: Setting Up Own airfield

Posted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:22 pm
by Mark H
I've been googling the Craughwell Planning but am getting no result. Do you have a link by any chance?

Re: Setting Up Own airfield

Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:54 pm
by hugoj_air
Selected Site(s) : Galway County Council
File number : 081212
Made three attempts to PM this to you Mark H, but what the hell, it's available online anyway. Hugo.

Surname :
At Address:
For: ALL years
Page Number : 1

File Number Application Status Decision Due Date Decided Date Decision Received Date Applicant Name Development Address Development Description Council Name
081212 APPLICATION FINALISED 03/10/2008 03/10/2008 CONDITIONAL 24/04/2008 Seamus Coughlan Ballynageeragh
for the development for a grass airstrip and the change of use of an agricultural shed for the stora...

As you will notice the File No. is 081212 at Galway Co.Co. You would need to see the original on the planning site as the above got up mixed in transmission. Also that is all I could find, maybe you will have better luck. A previous application No. 071027 was refused.