Aerodrome safeguarding

Aerodrome safeguarding ensures the safety of aircraft when in the vicinity of an aerodrome by controlling potentially hazardous development and activity around it.

What is Safeguarding?

Some descriptionThere are three main types of aerodrome safeguarding; physical safeguarding which protects a set of flight safety surfaces up to a 30km radius around the airfield, technical safeguarding which protects aircraft navigational equipment from any interference or disruption, and wildlife management which prevents any development areas from creating an environment attractive to birds.

As outlined in the joint Town and County Planning (Safeguarded Aerodromes, Technical Sites and Military Explosive Storage Areas) direction 2002, the aerodrome safeguarding control measures are included in UK legislation as a fundamental part of planning procedures. Safeguarded maps placed with planning authorities include a 30km radius centred on the aerodrome to indicate the area within which, developments that could have a detrimental effect on aircraft operations require consultation with the aerodrome.

Areas of development interest within 15km of SIAL:

  • Tall structures
  • Cranes or other construction equipment (within 6km). Further information on cranes.
  • Landscaping schemes which could encourage wildlife (within 13km)
  • Lighting and illuminated signage which could dazzle pilots or air traffic controllers
  • Use of Chinese lanterns or balloon releases
  • Firework displays
  • Developments using highly reflective materials such as glazed roofs or photo voltaic cells
  • Masts or antennas emitting signals which could interfere with airport navigation aids

Areas of development interest within 30km of SIAL:

  • Wind Turbines

Wind Turbines

Similarly to cranes, wind turbines can pose a physical infringement on flight surfaces. However in addition to this, they can also cause problems with aircraft navigation aids, air traffic control radars, and can cause turbulence. Southampton International Airport Limited (SIAL) is responsible for assessing any proposed wind turbine sites within 30km of the aerodrome, to ensure safety for aircraft is maintained. 

The Local Planning Authority (LPA) will forward any wind turbine applications within the aforementioned area to SIAL for assessment. SIAL’s Safeguarding officer will assess the physical impact of a proposed development, and the application will also be forwarded to National Air Traffic Services (NATS) for assessment of the effect on navigational aids and radar.

Landscaping and Wildlife

Aircraft are vulnerable to birdstrikes, and 80% of all strikes occur on an aircraft’s take-off or landing phase of flight, therefore highlighting the necessity for wildlife management on and within proximity of an airfield. SIAL is responsible for monitoring bird activity within a 13km radius of the aerodrome. This is to mitigate the bird strike risk to aircraft and be aware of what species we have in the local area. Birdstrikes have caused many aviation incidents in the past; including the US Airways flight 1549 which had to make an emergency ditching in the Hudson River. This is why bird strike mitigation at aerodromes is so important, and why we need to manage the risk in our local area.

Any proposed developments which are looking to include landscaping or water features which may increase the risk of bird strike to aircraft must be forwarded to the SIAL Safeguarding Officer for assessment. This includes landfill sites, wetlands and nature reserves.

Pre Planning Advice

Southampton Airport offers a competitive pre planning service to all developers and construction companies. A comprehensive report will be provided to ensure that any aviation specific safety issues are identified and advice will be given on suitable mitigation options. We will also advise on any relevant documentation to include at the time of planning submission. 

For more information please contact