We have decided to appeal the decision by the East Lothian Council Planning Committee to refuse planning permission for a new hangar at the National Museum of Flight. The timing of this is determined by the Scottish Government's Planning and Environmental Appeals Division which places a limit of three months on lodging an appeal, a timeline which has not been altered by the coronavirus pandemic.
We recognise the global threat of climate change and concerns voiced by some members of the local community about tree loss resulting from the development. This has been an important consideration throughout the development of our plans and we have sought to balance this with our statutory responsibility to protect historically important aircraft in Scotland’s national aviation collection, our duty to minimise impact on the Scheduled Monument site and the opportunity to deliver significant public benefit.
The felling of 299 trees and saplings is necessary in order to bring at-risk aircraft into the new hangar. Our plans include replanting 780 trees, supplemented by a woodland shrub layer which will create an additional wildlife habitat which currently doesn’t exist. This will sustain a more diverse variety of species than is currently present and provide a lasting legacy. The nearby 'Big Wood' which is covered by a Tree Preservation Order is not affected. In addition, we have worked to minimise the environmental impact of the new hangar by designing a well-insulated, naturally ventilated, sustainably heated building, using ground source heat pumps and roof-top photovoltaic panels to maximise its energy efficiency.
The current National Museum of Flight is located within the best preserved Second World War airfield in the UK which has been classed as a Scheduled Monument site. Its heritage status means we are not allowed to build on the site so the proposed new hangar will be built on land adjacent to the historic airfield. We considered all possible options for the location of our new building, including the fields to the west of the site and we liaised closely with Historic Environment Scotland to identify a position which would minimise any impact on the Scheduled Monument. The current proposal has been specifically chosen for this reason.
The project will deliver significant public benefits for the site and the local community. Overall, it will create jobs, play a transformative role within the local tourism economy, engage communities and contribute to life-long learning whilst ensuring an important part of our heritage and historic environment is protected for generations to come.
Last updated 20 May 2020.