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SOUTH EAST AIRPORTS CONSULTATION - CLIFFE STUDY PUBLISHED

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Secretary of state for transport Alistair Darling has announced ...
Secretary of state for transport Alistair Darling has announced

publication of a study into the risks of collisions between birds and

aircraft at a possible new airport at Cliffe in Kent.

The study, commissioned by the secretary of state, was undertaken

jointly by the Central Science Laboratory and the British Trust for

Ornithology. It provides a detailed assessment of

- the populations, movements and behaviour of birds at and around the

site; and

- the risks of birdstrike after applying mitigating measures to a new

airport at Cliffe. Making the announcement in a Commons Written

Statement, Mr Darling listed the study's key conclusions:

- Without a comprehensive and aggressive bird management programme

in place, incorporating careful and considered airport design,

appropriate habitat management and active bird control, an airport

could not operate safely in this location.

- Even with such world class management and mitigation measures in

place, the hazard proposed by birds is severe and would probably be

higher than at any other major UK airport.

Mr Darling said:

'This research is clearly important and I will consider its

conclusions carefully, along with all the consultation responses,

before announcing my decisions in the air transport White Paper.'

Notes

1. Last summer the government published a set of seven consultation

papers on the future development of air transport in the UK.

2. The south-east consultation paper mentioned that the South East

and East of England Regional Air Services Study had included

a preliminary assessment of the risk of birds colliding with aircraft

at Cliffe. Details of this work are contained in appendix four of The

North Kent Marshes Ecological Study (phase 1 report), copies of which

are available in the house libraries.

3. The consultation paper highlighted the potential significance of

this risk and advised that further work wou ld be commissioned. The

Central Science Laboratory and British Trust for Ornithology were

jointly commissioned in September 2002 to conduct further research to

assess more fully the risk and identify possible mitigating measures.

4. The second editions of the main south-east consultation paper,

the summary South East paper and the questionnaires for both the

South East and other areas of the UK were published on 27 February

this year. The consultation paper included a commitment to publish

this further work during the extended consultation period.

5. The study was published on 7 April 2003 and will help inform the

consultation and decisions for the air transport White Paper. The

Department for Transport intends to publish the White Paper later

this year.

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