Derek has made progress in his campaign to ensure helicopter pleasure flights are subject to planning law.
In St Ives, a relaxation of planning laws has enabled a tourist helicopter offering pleasure flights to take off from a field, for up to ten hours a day, and to fly extremely low over residential areas. The community in St Ives are given no say over a development which causes serious annoyance during the summer months.
Derek worked with Cornwall Council to find a solution, but the law does not require planning permission from local authorities.
There was widespread frustration in St Ives that Cornwall Council does not appear to have the power to regulate flights over residential areas. Derek undertook a survey of local residents and found that 92% of respondents would like local authorities to have the power to refuse permission for these flights.
In order to change the law, Derek proposed an amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to give local authorities control over these flights.
“Proposing amendments to Government legislation is a very good way to put pressure on ministers.
“To ensure Government legislation goes through without a division, they will either take on the amendment (as the Government did with the compulsory registration scheme for holiday lets) or take alternative action to remove the need for the amendment.”
The Levelling Up Department did not want to take on the amendment in full, as it would have applied nationally and imposed a new and unexpected burden on many (perfectly responsible) helicopter flights and local authorities.
In lieu of an amendment, the Minister promised to prioritise the issue and would arrange a meeting between her officials and Cornwall Council’s planning officers to enable them to use a different legal mechanism under the Town and Country Planning Acts.
“I am optimistic that the action I have taken in Parliament will enable Cornwall Council to have more control over helicopter flights.
“I am grateful that the Department for Levelling Up have been listening to our concerns – both about helicopters, and about the other changes to the Levelling Up Bill I have been asking for to give Cornwall more control over planning in Cornwall.”