Cotswold Airport (formerly Kemble Airfield), is a private airport located near the village of Kemble. It is used for a variety of aviation purposes including aircraft storage and dismantling, flying training, flying clubs, private aviation, aircraft maintenance, air shows and as a base for historic aircraft.
It is also used for a range of non aviation activities including film and TV shoots, corporate events, Formula 1 car testing and industrial use.
The Airport is on the boundary between Cotswold District Council and Wiltshire Council, and both Councils have a responsibility for regulating some activities at the Airport, some activities are not regulated by either Council, with responsibility resting with a national regulator (see section below)
This map shows the Airport site, and where the boundary between the two Council’s run through it.
The Airport has been listed as a key Transport Hub for the London Olympics in 2012.
Work on RAF Kemble started in August 1936, and it was used as a maintenance, training, and aircraft distribution during the second world war, as well as a base for US Airforce transport units. Post war it was used for dismantling surplus aircraft, as a base for jet aircraft and for aircraft maintenance. It was also the base for the RAF ‘Red Arrows’ team in the 1960’s and 1970’s. RAF Kemble was closed as an operational facility in 1993 and was sold into private ownership in 2001.
More information on the history of the site can be found at:
The changes that have taken place at Cotswold Airport have inevitably led to residents questioning if the owners have planning permission for various activities. The following statement sets out Cotswold District Council’s understanding of the permissions enjoyed by the site:
The lawful primary use of the airfield is for general aviation purposes. The authorised use includes ancillary uses that have been established over time, namely the maintenance, repair and storage of aircraft.
The primary use includes flying for business, traffic surveillance and control, police, pipeline, pollution and fishery controls, aerial survey, civil search and rescue, medical evacuation, emergency carriage of medical organs, aerial prospecting, personal transport, leisure purposes and flying training. Large scale passenger, freight and commercial operations are excluded from the definition of general aviation.
The above is not intended to be an exhaustive list of authorised/permitted uses. It is acknowledged that other ancillary uses may be taking place and evidence may exist to demonstrate that other uses have become established.”
The site was the subject of a judicial review in 2009.
The site can also be used for other activities without requiring a change in the Planning Permission that the site benefits from, if those activities fall within the permitted development under the 28 day rule. (The use of any land for any purpose for not more than 28 days in total in any calendar year is considered permitted development and so planning permission is not required).
Cotswold District Council does monitor activities to ensure that the 28 days in total is not breached. Cotswold Airport notifies the council of all events, both public and private and all public events are listed on Cotswold Airport website.
We hope to publish a diary of events for all activities that we are notified of in the future, so that residents can see that the total number of events do not exceed 28 days.
The Council also has to consider whether the noise from any activity taking place is sufficient to be a statutory nuisance, there is more information on this in the section on Regulation
Cotswold Airport’s status as a Statutory Undertaker
Like many airports Cotswold Airport also enjoys a number of rights as a ‘Statutory Undertaker’. Cotswold Airport (or as was at the time Kemble Airfield) was granted on the 01 September 2006 Airport status from the Economic Regulation Group of the Civil Aviation Authority under Section 38 of the Airports Act 1986. The latter along with the Civil Aviation Authority (Economic Regulation of Airports) Regulations 1986 (SI 1986 No 1544) is the legislation which covers the economic regulation of airports and full details of which can be found on the internet.
Once approved as an Airport under these Regulations, Part V of the Act confers on the Airport the status of a statutory undertaker for the purposes of various pieces of legislation. One piece of legislation this applies to is the Town & Country Planning Acts and in particular the Town & Country (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended) within which Airports are granted a number of permitted development rights (ie rights available to them for various development without the need for formal planning consents which would otherwise require planning permission). The principal rights available to private Airports under this Act include :
- The right to carry out on operational land development (including the erection or alteration of an operational building) in connection with the provision of services and facilities at the Airport.
Development permitted would include :
- the construction of a passenger terminal less than 500 square metres in floorspace
- development in connection with the provision of air traffic control services
- development in connection with the navigation of aircraft using the airport or the monitoring of the movement of aircraft using the airport
- use of buildings within the airport for purposes connected with air transport or other flying activities at the airport
- the construction of an operational building which is a building required in connection with the movement or maintenance of aircraft or with the embarking, disembarking, loading,discharge or transport of passengers, livestock or goods
Full details can be found within the Town & Country (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended) Schedule 2 Part 18 under Aviation Development
The reason behind the introduction of this legislation was to protect and assist Airports in operating and developing efficiently and economically and encouraging them to invest in new facilities (duties which are also required of the Civil Aviation Authority under the Airport Acts) without the red tape and stringent conditions which may be applied by a local planning authority.
Cotswold Airport is used for a variety of purposes and many of those activities are regulated by one or more bodies. This section sets out the main regulators, their roles and contact details.
Cotswold District Council
Cotswold District Council are responsible for regulating the following activities in those parts of the site that are within the Council’s District:
- Food Safety
- Health & Safety (Some activities only)
- Noise & Other Nuisances unless resulting from flying activities
Wiltshire Council are responsible for regulating the same activities on the part of the site that is within their District.
Civil Aviation Authority
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is responsible for regulating all aspect of aviation, including noise from aircraft. Neither Cotswold District Council, nor Wiltshire Council can investigate complaints arising from aviation operations. Both Council’s encourage residents who have concerns to first raise them with Cotswold Airport and if their concerns are not resolved, then to contact the Civil Aviation Authority.
The Civil Aviation Authority publish the following advice on making complaints about noise from aircraft:
Aircraft Noise Complaints
Complaints about aircraft noise resulting from operations at a particular airport or aerodrome should be made direct to the operator concerned (see UK airport websites). This approach is consistent with the policy of successive governments that local problems concerning the environmental impact of aircraft operations should be resolved locally. However, more general complaints or enquiries related to the environmental impact of aviation should be made to Aviation Related Environmental Enquiries. You can contact AREE by telephone on 020 7453 6524, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending a letter to the following address:
- Aviation Related Environmental Enquiries, Directorate of Airspace Policy, K6 G7, CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE
For other matters the contact details for the Civil Aviation Authority are:
- CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE
- Main Switchboard: 020 7379 7311
- Website: www.caa.co.uk
- Email: email@example.com
The Environment Agency regulates the environmental aspects of the aircraft dismantling business.
The Environment Agency can be contacted at:
- National Customer Contact Centre, PO Box 544, Rotherham S60 1BY
- Telephone: 03708 506 506 (Mon-Fri, 8am - 6pm)
- Telephone from outside the UK: 00 44 1709 389 201 (Mon-Fri, 8am - 6pm)
- Minicom service: For the hard of hearing a minicom service is also available by calling 08702 422 549
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (do not use for reporting environmental incidents)
Health & Safety Executive
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) are responsible for regulating many of the activities at Cotswold Airport including aircraft maintenance and dismantling. More information can be obtained from the HSE’s website.
Formula 1 (F1) is an important industry for the UK with the majority of the major teams based in England. The sport allows the UK to showcase it’s engineering capabilities across the world.
Cotswold Airport is occasionally used for testing by a number of F1 Teams. The site does not have planning permission for this activity, but it is permitted within the ’28 day’ rule. See section on Planning above.
F1 cars are noisy and do cause some disturbance. Both Cotswold district Council and Wiltshire Council have monitored noise levels from this activity and are satisfied that testing these cars occasionally does not cause a statutory nuisance. We have agreed with Cotswold Airport that testing should not normally take place on more than 1 day in any week without the agreement of both Councils. We believe that this will minimise any disturbance to residents.
Cotswold Airport Advisory Group
The Cotswold Airport Advisory Group meets to develop good working relationships between the Airport and Local Communities. The Advisory Group is made up of representatives of Cotswold District Council, Wiltshire Council, Parish Councils and Cotswold Airport, More details of the Group and minutes of meetings can be found on the Cotswold District Council Website.
Download related documents
Cotswold Airport - Local Authority District Map
This document is available for download in the following format(s):
Cotswold Airport - Runway Plan
This document is available for download in the following format(s):