PERMISSION is being sought to set up a permanent segregated airspace around Parc Aberporth so that frequent testing of unmanned aircraft can take place over land.

The first announcement of the move was made at the annual unmanned systems show at the parc this week.

A full public consultation is promised on the proposal this autumn, involving organisations and local councils over a wide area - from Cardigan, Newcastle Emlyn and Llandysul, possibly as far as Lampeter.

The Welsh Assembly Government is sponsoring the Airspace Change Proposal submission to the Civil Aviation Authority, which seeks to extend the segregated airspace that unmanned systems can fly in.

"This permission will be crucial to the future of Parc Aberporth and we are at the start of a process that might take up to two years to complete," said Paul Cremin, strategy and development manager, unmanned systems, for the Welsh Assembly Government.

No information is available yet on the possible range or height of the special airspace.

"That will partly depend on the results of the consultation which will take place both to determine the needs of the industry and the response of the public and the CAA. This will all go out to formal consultation this autumn," said Mr Cremin.

He added: "We need this development to get the best out of Parc Aberporth. It is vital we have segregated airspace over the land, as we have limited access to the sea ranges. And there are some great projects coming up that will need to be tested over land."

Carl Davies, manager of the West Wales UAV Centre, told the Tivy-Side: "This airfield is pivotal in the UAV industry and we are already doing real work on a regular basis, but we need to be able to develop and offer much more to the unmanned aerial systems industry.

"This diddy little airfield already offers a package to for UAV development that nowhere else in the world has to offer, and we need the airspace approval so that we can really continue to develop. Then, in 10 to 15 years time we will have so much going on here we will be able to offer some really good jobs to our children."

He added that during the airspace consultation information will be distributed over a wide area via roadshows.

"We will be going to all the key towns locally, such as Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn. We may go as far as Lampeter to consult with people," he said.