In the good old days before the Farnborough airspace, the Blackbushe ATZ was Class G, and so we operated under Class G VFR rules, which were clear of cloud, surface in sight, 1500m flight vis.
So when the EGLF CAS was introduced part of the Blackbushe ATZ became Class D and “shared” with us as a Local Flying Area “LFA”.
That means within the LFA, which is most of our circuit, aircraft operating VFR must abide by Class D rules as per SERA 5001 and ENR1.2.
When the airspace came in on 27 Feb 2020 this was: Clear of cloud, surface in sight, 5k of vis. Not really a problem, and we could go Special VFR of the vis was rubbish.
On 26th March, the CAA revoked the old ORS4 General Exemption 4919 which meant all aircraft in the class D (and so the EGLK circuit) have to abide by SERA 5001 which is 1500m horizontally from cloud, AND 1000ft vertically from cloud, AND 5k vis.
If the weather was worse than this, then we had to be SVFR. The reason it was revoked was down to pressure from EASA to comply with SERA.
The problem is SERA also requires ATC to separate SVFR aircraft from one another. They can’t do this because Blackbushe circuit traffic is talking to us not them. So we were limited to one at a time in the circuit when the weather was pants. Fairoaks, Denham, Brooklands, and White Waltham all benefited from “grandfather rights” and got an exemption from the CAA but as we were not in Class D when that exemption was issued, we didn’t get it.
What this exemption issued today and eff 11 Mar 2021 does is remove the obligation on EGLF to separate SVFR traffic in the EGLK circuit from one another.
The v1 of the application was submitted in Jan 2020 but due in part to COVID, but mostly down to massive amounts of risk assessments to do it has taken this long to get over the line. Every time we thought we had it cracked, someone else had to risk assess it and opened another can of worms.
Of course all this work will only be useful from 11th March to 20 May when they bring back clear of cloud surface in sight to class D