Fears for bird safety on Marsh

SUS-150216-103756001

SUS-150216-103756001

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The Lydd Airport Action Group has raised concerns that migrating birds could be struck by large aircraft when the airport expansion is complete.

Louise Barton, from the group, said: “Bird strike will be a major issue for the airport as it develops.

“Lydd Airport is located under one of the main migratory bird routes in the South of England, is separated from the Dungeness nuclear power complex by the RSPB bird reserve and is surrounded on three sides by an SPA – a Special Protection Area designated to nurture bird species.

“There are thus high populations of resident and migratory bird species which are considered hazardous to aircraft.

“Bird strike has not been an issue historically since airport activity has been dominated by light aircraft which are slower than larger modern commercial aircraft which means birds are better able to detect them and move to safety.

“Light aircraft also do not have the critical mass to cause a significant radiological release in the event of a crash at the Dungeness nuclear power complex which is less than three miles away from Lydd Airport.

“By contrast, the nuclear regulator acknowledges that larger aircraft have the potential to cause a significant radiological release should an accident occur at this site.”

She added: “According to the latest edition of the Dungeness Bird Observatory report 35,000 Brent geese were recorded at Dungeness in the spring of 2013 with the highest daily count of 5,800 on April 7, while herring gulls were recorded daily in large numbers throughout the year with a peak count of 15,000 in February - graphically illustrating why Lydd is not a suitable place for a large airport.”

Lydd Airport has said it has carried out detailed investigations into issues such as bird safety and the effect of the airport expansion on the natural environment.

Both the RSPB and Lydd Airport Action Group had High Court appeals against the airport turned down.