It's five years ago this week since we reported on proposals to relocate police helicopters moved a step closer to happening.

Parish councillors have paved the way for police helicopters to be relocated to North Weald Airfield.

North Weald Bassett Parish Council voiced no objection to plans to move the National Police Air Service (NPAS) unit from High Beach to the airfield at a meeting last night (Monday, November 6).

A planning application has been submitted for a hangar, office, store and workshop together with a 50,000-litre aircraft fuel tank and a 2,000-litre gas tank for heating the accommodation unit.

The air unit, formed of two helicopters and a fixed wing aircraft, has to move from its current base at Lippitts Hill by the end of March.

The final decision on whether the base is relocated to North Weald lies with Epping Forest Council.

The move would bring an additional 20,000 air movements a year to the airfield, with the police helicopters operating 24 hours a day.

The airfield is already used as a base by the Herts and Essex Air Ambulance Service, which has recently approached the council about establishing a more permanent base at the site.

An Epping Forest Council report in September highlighted the potential increase in flights and deemed it a "key consideration" when debating the proposed relocation.

While the air ambulance service currently registers some 1,300 movements a year, NAPS operation would see movements capped at 20,000 a year, with flights 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The cabinet report stated negotiations with NAPS indicate Epping Forest District Council could receive about £120,000 per annum in ground rent and movement fees as part of any deal.