Preplanning Assessment for Buildings and other structures

Preplanning Assessment for Buildings and other structures

Pre-planning services currently offered.

Over the last few years, NATS has identified an increasing number of developments in and around our infrastructure which are affecting the performance of our systems. The developments range from relatively low rise buildings in close proximity to our installations through to more distant buildings whose sheer mass and elevation have the potential to affect NATS’s infrastructure and operations.

In order to work with the Developer community and identify potential issues early on, NATS is now offering a pre-planning service for buildings and other structures. This provides developers with the benefit of identifying potential aviation issues without the time or design constraints encountered once a planning application is submitted.

While most of the issues encountered relate to the coverage of En-Route Primary and Secondary Radars (PSR/SSR), the pre-planning assessment can also inform prospective developers of any issues surrounding the wider Air Traffic Infrastructure (i.e. Air-Ground-Air Radio Sites and DVOR beacons). The pre-planning assessment essentially mirrors that carried out by NATS En-Route when consulted by a Local Planning Authority for valid planning applications.

The pre-planning assessment provides value by identifying at an early stage whether a specific development has the potential to affect En-Route air traffic services.

Who might object to a planning application

There are normally two civil aviation consultees who may object to a planning application:

  1. NATS En-route. A consultee for applications meeting specific criteria, NATS is responsible for ensuring that all of its assets are protected from interference.
  2. Airport authorities. These are responsible for safeguarding their airport operations and associated assets. However it can be the case that many airports rely on NATS infrastructure or data.

Should a development affect NATS infrastructure, it may be the case that either NATS or an airport, or both, consider that impact to be unacceptable.

What assessments might be needed?

Depending on the location of the proposed development, it may be advisable to engage with local airports.

The NATS pre-planning assessment will provide a formal statement in terms of NATS En-Route’s position. Depending on whether an asset or data is provided to other parties, the assessment may assist in engaging with other users.

However, any position in respect of the application should be sought of other affected stakeholders directly.

Types of assessment

1. Technical

This assessment considers the proposed development in respect of any asset NATS operates that may be affected. This looks at the issues from a signal blocking perspective (affecting AGA, DVOR and Radar sites) as well as whether a structure is anticipated to cause false SSR targets by reflecting radio energy from the radar in in directions other than the intended one.

2.  Operational

This takes the results of the technical assessment and passes them to the users of the assets. The users state whether the impact is acceptable or whether it is unacceptable to their operations.

How can we help you pre-plan?

NATS can assess a proposal in advance of planning in order to advise the developer  whether a NATS objection would be forthcoming should a planning application be submitted.

Note that where an asset is shared, or data is used by other stakeholders, only the NATS position will be communicated under pre-planning.

Pre-planning packages

The NATS pre-planning assessment will comprise a technical assessment followed by an operational assessment depending on the nature of the impact.

The Pre-planning assessment is only provided for NATS En-Route’s position, however, in the case of airports where NATS provides a service, it may be possible to provide an airport or combined assessment.

These requests and assessments need to be considered on a case by case basis. Should developers require anything more than the NATS En-Route position, they should use the ‘contact us’ form to request further information on what can be provided.

How much will it cost?

  1. En-route TOPA                                   £1,250 plus VAT

You can submit an application and pay online with a credit card.


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