Representation and Consultation
As the UK governing body of gliding, the BGA has a significant responsibility in representing the interests of gliding clubs and their member glider pilots. Government agencies and departments that the BGA regularly engage with in the course of our work include DfT, DCMS, EASA and UK CAA.
The BGA position taken on any given topic is agreed with the elected Executive Committee and is as discussed and consulted from time to time with member clubs. BGA consultation with member club officials takes the form of pre-arranged and ad hoc direct contact , surveys, and written requests for views. Formal votes where required are taken at an AGM or EGM.
To achieve its aims, the BGA works within wider organisations, including;
- In the UK, the Royal Aero Club (RAeC) and the GA Alliance (GAA)
- Outside the UK, Europe Air Sports (EAS), the European Gliding Union (EGU), and the FAI International Gliding Commission (IGC)
The BGA is represented within numerous other organisations and working groups in the UK and wider on a variety of important topics including safety, electronic conspicuity, airspace infringements, gliding operations rules, gliding licencing rules, outdoor sport, airfield protection, etc.
We are always looking for members of BGA clubs who have an interest in helping the BGA with its representation work. If you are interested, please get in touch with a member of the BGA Executive Committee or the BGA CEO for a no obligation chat!
One of the greatest challenges to gliding and other forms of aviation in the first part of this century is maintaining reasonable access to airspace. The BGA recognises the need to fully protect the public who are travelling in commercial air transport aircraft. The BGA does not automatically oppose all airspace change proposals – each is carefully considered on its merits. Within the UK, the growth of commercial aviation, speculative commercial interests and the way airspace is regulated presents a multitude of issues. As a consequence, BGA airspace work is increasing resulting in a significant load on both BGA and GAA volunteers.
If someone, usually an airport or air traffic control provider (the ‘sponsor’), wants to request a permanent change to UK airspace design, they must submit an airspace change proposal to the CAA. Any such proposal will go through the airspace change process, which requires a series of stages to be completed before it is submitted to CAA for a decision. CAP725 describes the process. There is no requirement for the airspace change to be integrated within a wider airspace plan. The CAA role is currently binary, ie to accept or reject the proposal. To ensure that the needs of all airspace users are reasonably met and to restore balance, the BGA believes that the process and approach employed by CAA as an airspace regulator needs to change including that a strategic approach to lower airspace design needs to be adopted in partnership with all users.
Airspace developments that are of particular current interest to BGA include;
Doncaster. The CAA’s post implementation review of Doncaster RHADS airspace concluded that change would be appropriate but that CAA cannot get involved with airspace design. The BGA does not agree with the CAA assertion that it is powerless to intervene.
Exeter. The BGA is engaged with the Exeter airport proposed airspace changes and has proposed significant modification to the initial ‘starter for ten’ that Exeter presented to the BGA. Exeter expect to submit an ACP to the CAA in late 2017.
Farnborough. The CAA is expected to make a decision in late 2017 on an ACP submitted by TAG/Farnborough. You can read more here.
Inverness. The BGA and others from the GAA have engaged with the Inverness airport proposed airspace changes. Inverness intend to submit an ACP “following some post consultation engagement with our local operators in an effort to alleviate their concerns”.
LAMP. The London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP) is the very long running project to change all the UK airspace that is south of Birmingham and east of Bristol. The changes are meant to improve efficiency and safety. Following a formal ACP consultation LAMP Phase 1A has been completed and implemented. The next phases are work in progress with NATS. Consultation with GA is expected. LAMP Phase 1A detail can be viewed here.
Leeds Bradford. Local clubs with BGA support are developing a view of proposals put forward by Leeds Bradford Airport.
Oxford / RAF Brize Norton. Local clubs and the BGA have engaged with Oxford/Brize and has rejected the initial proposal presented to the BGA. Oxford/Brize expect to submit an ACP to the CAA in late 2017. The Oxford/Brize draft design and BGA response can be viewed here.
PLAS. Prestwick Lower Airspace Systemisation (PLAS) Airspace Development is the name for a whole swathe of changes to effectively all existing UK controlled airspace within a line including; Birmingham, East Midlands, Newcastle, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Belfast and back to Birmingham. These changes are meant to improve efficiency (e.g. less fuel burn, greater capacity, less staff) and safety (7% reduction in conflict alerts). The CAA/NATS Framework Briefing was on 11 Nov 2015. Consultation with GA is expected.
EASA is the European aviation safety agency. EASA is responsible for ensuring standardised aviation safety regulation – including for gliding. Over many years, the BGA and EGU have worked closely to minimise the impact of EASA regulation on gliding. That work continues.
CAA is the UK civil aviation authority responsible for ensuring EASA regulation is standardised in the UK and for regulating non-EASA aviation as well as the UK’s airspace (see Airspace). The CAA has a General Aviation Unit (GAU) which manages the oversight of GA but is not involved in regulating airspace. The BGA engages with the GAU on a regular basis, including through formal meetings of the GA Partnership (GAP).
UK government strategy and regulation is constantly evolving. Aviation regulatory changes are ongoing, and more recently Brexit has become dominant. BGA is engaged with GAA colleagues in responding to the related strategic issues. Domestic issues such as planning and sport-related development are ongoing. Again, the BGA works closely with others, including the Sport and Recreation Alliance (S&RA).
Gliding is primarily impacted by European aviation regulation (see EASA). However, occasional consultations outside of the aviation regulation domain are relevant and responsed to either by BGA or through EAS.