Protecting the safe operation of Gatwick Airport

Approach lights at Gatwick Airport

To keep the operation of the UK's second busiest airport safe and secure, Gatwick is legally obliged to have an active policy of aerodrome safeguarding. This is managed by the airport's aerodrome safeguarding team which is responsible for making sure that no developments within the 15km safeguarding zone (30km for wind turbines) have an adverse effect on the airport's operation. 

Aerodrome safeguarding covers a number of aspects:

  1. Protecting the airspace around the airport by ensuring there are no buildings or structures which may cause danger to aircraft either in the air or on the ground. The 15 km safeguarding circle around the airport is measured from the middle of the runway.
  2. Wildlife and in particular, bird strikes, pose a serious threat to flight safety. The safeguarding team is responsible for ensuring that proposed developments for example, landscaping, waste disposal facilities etc, do not attract and encourage birds to congregate and cause a potential hazard for aircraft.
  3. Ensuring that radar and navigational aids are not distorted by proposed developments. For example, wind turbines and large banks of solar panels can interfere with radar.
  4. Making sure that visual aids, such as the runway lights and approach lights are not obscured or that other lights in the local area do not distract or cause confusion to pilots.  

Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) is a statutory consultee through the Town and Country Planning process and is consulted by the local and county planning authorities about certain developments within the safeguarding consultation zones.

DfT information

Information for developers can be found in the Government's DfT/ODPM Circular 1/2003 - advice to local planning authorities on safeguarding aerodromes and military explosives storage areas. 

Contact us

If you'd like more information about different aspects of aerodrome safeguarding, we'd be happy to help you. Please contact us at: gal.safeguarding@gatwickairport.com  

You can also use the above email for information about crane permits.  

Other information 

The Airport Operators Association (AOA) produces a series of advice notes about aerodrome safeguarding. Please go to: www.aoa.org.uk/publications/safeguarding.asp