Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary and Flying Fanatic is charged with lobbying for his OWN Government against the construction of houses on airports

  • Shapps claims to have used lobbying bodies to prevent the destruction of airfields
  • He has held pilot’s licence for 25 years and said to have his own £100,000 plane
  • The Sunday Times allegations were refuted by the DfT. 

Today, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was accused of sabotage plans to construct homes on small-used airfields by his Government.

Mr Shapps, a keen pilot said to own his own £100,000 aircraft, is said to have used a lobbying body to protect airfields from development.

He denies claims that he “set-up” and diverted public cash to a Civil Aviation Authority team to lobby against any planning that could infringe airstrips.

According to the newspaper, objections from the Airfield Advisory Team helped stop Homes England’s plans to construct 3,000 homes at Chalgrove (an airfield in south Oxfordshire), while opposing ambitious plans to build a battery gigafactory at Coventry Airport.

However, Department for Transport officials stated that the team did not lobby and was instead providing support for general aviation regarding a wide range of topics which could affect their operation.

The Sunday Times reported that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps 'set-up and diverted public money' to a new team within the Civil Aviation Authority which is designed to lobby against planning developments that infringe on airstrips

The Sunday Times reported Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary,’set-up’ and diverted public cash to an entirely new Civil Aviation Authority group that was created to oppose planning decisions that violate airstrips.

He is reported to own a £100,000 Piper Saratoga aircraft similar to the one above

He is reported to own a £100,000 Piper Saratoga aircraft similar to the one above

According to a Government source, the body does not lobby, but is an advisory body that helps general aviation solve problems, such as planning, or any other.

“It’s not anti-housing. Housing can sometimes be a way to fund an airfield.

“As Secretary for State for Transport it is his duty to protect general aviation. We’ve witnessed a decrease in airfields all across the country.

A DfT spokeswoman said: ‘It is right that the Transport Secretary works to promote all aspects of the department’s brief including the general aviation sector, which contributes £4 billion to the economy and supports 40,000 jobs, especially as we focus on our recovery from the pandemic and on building a diverse workforce that’s fit for the future.’

The Sunday Times also reported that Mr Shapps’ aviation hobby had “undermined” Government efforts to repatriate Britons following the fall of Thomas Cook, the travel agent. He had also taken up valuable time while DfT was dealing with post-Brexit travel disruption and coronavirus.

A source however stated that the claims made were completely bogus, and clearly false.

It is thought that Mr Shapps has held a pilot’s license since 1995 before he joined Parliament. 

He was also elected chair of the all-party parliamentary Group (APPG), Aviation in 2017. On taking on the role he said: ‘Grant Shapps said: “The All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation seeks to be the strong voice in Parliament that general aviation needs to help promote jobs and growth in this country. 

“We will strive to achieve this goal by encouraging young and old alike to take to the skies in order to develop high-tech skills and jobs. It is an honor to be elected as chair. I look forward to promoting this important sector of the economy.

Chris Grayling was the new Secretary of State of Transport.