Work on the facility began back in February 2020 after planning permission was granted by Epping Forest District Council. The new building includes a hangar which houses one of EHAAT’s two helicopters. There is also space for both helicopters when necessary, for example, to permit aircraft maintenance. The helipad has underground heating beneath it to keep it free of snow and ice during the winter months. The new airbase also has a specially designed garage for two of its rapid response vehicles.
In addition to these spaces, the airbase has specific areas for training, mentoring, patient liaison and fundraising. There is also space for cross training with other emergency services, which benefits both the charity and the wider pre-hospital care community. Importantly, part of the new building has a dedicated interactive visitor centre which allows EHAAT to welcome and engage with its supporters so that they can learn more about the life-saving work of the charity.
Green design of airbase
Jane Gurney, CEO of EHAAT, said: “After more than three years in the planning I am so proud to see our airbase open and fully operational. As well as providing improved facilities for the aircraft, vehicles and aircrew, this fantastic building now gives us security of tenure which will allow us to plan effectively for the future.”
Chair of Trustees for EHAAT, Jonathan Trower, added: “The Trustees are delighted that it has been possible to construct a state-of-art facility for both our critical care and fundraising teams to operate from. I am extremely pleased that the building has been designed with `green’ issues very much to the fore. It includes charging points for electric cars and photovoltaic panels on the roof which will generate electricity, with any excess supplied to the National Grid. The building has been well insulated to retain heat and reduce noise pollution and it makes as much use as possible of natural light in order to save on electricity.”