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Volume 439: debated on Friday 11 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will give a table of all the airfields that were in use at the end of the war in the United Kingdom, indicating the number that are being retained for service operational use, the number on a care and maintenance basis, the number returned to the landowners to be used fully for agricultural purposes; the number reserved for civil flying purposes; the number returned to municipalities and local authorities who originally constructed them; and the number about which no decision has yet been finally taken.

pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th June, 1947; Vol. 438, C. 147] supplied the following statement:Final decisions have not yet been taken about the post-war requirements of airfields for the Royal Air Force, but the

following statement gives, so far as possible, the information required by the hon. Member in respect of the boo or so airfields in the United Kingdom which were in use on VE-Day:

  • (a) Retained for Service use—about 240.
  • (b) Held on a care and maintenance basis—about 25.
  • (c) Returned to landowners—about 70
  • (d) Reserved for civil flying—about 70.
  • (e) Returned to municipalities and local authorities—7.
  • There are, of course, a large number of airfields which do not fall under any of these headings, e.g., about 200 airfields are used for storage by Government Departments other than the Air Ministry. Conversely, there are a number which fall under more than one heading, e.g., those which are held on a care and maintenance basis, but which are retained for the Royal Air Force. These figures also do not tell the full story of the use which is being made of these airfields, e.g. ( a) in addition to the 70 or so airfields reserved for civil flying, there are about 50 R.A.F. airfields at which civil flying will be permitted; and ( b) the land on about 30o airfields is given over to unrestricted agriculture, including ploughing, and at nearly all other airfields held by the R.A.F. there is restricted agricultural use of the land. including grazing and grass drying.