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Council to implement Raglan Airfield safety improvement recommendations

Waikato District Council will carry out safety improvements at Raglan Airfield after an independent report identified a number of issues that need to be addressed.

The airfield is on land that is also used for beach access, walking and dog walking.

While aircraft numbers are not high, the risk of an incident between a landing aircraft and a person or dog on the runway is high.

The report recommended a number of actions that should be taken to reduce the risk of an accident happening.

The recommendations include:

-          Review the operational area of the land and reduce the runway width to about 40 metres

-          Define the runway area with appropriate runway marker boards

-          Fence the perimeter of the revised operational area of the airfield

-          Improve signage on all fences and access points

-          Form an airfield user group

-          Develop an airfield management plan.

Waikato District Council will need to temporarily suspend operations at Raglan Airfield for a short period of time to implement safety recommendations.

The exact length of time that this will take is not currently known and the current Covid-19 situation in Raglan and the wider Waikato area contributes to this uncertainty.

But the plan is to start this work before Christmas and Council will let everyone know closer to the time when that is.

Council Service Delivery Manager Roger MacCulloch said Council had to act on the recommendations as soon as possible.

“We’re looking at this purely from a safety perspective and we need to take action to ensure pilots and the community are safe at Raglan Airfield,” said Mr MacCulloch.

“We understand that the area is popular for dog walking and recreation and that people cross the airfield to the go to the beach.

“The risk of injury associated with this mix of activities is just too high and we just can’t continue to operate the airfield in this way.

“It is important to note though that part of the recommendations is narrowing the runway area and clearly defining the operational area, which means less of the current airfield will be fenced off.”

Council will notify the aviation sector in the appropriate way once the scheduled temporary suspension of operations is confirmed.