publication of a study into the risks of collisions between birds and
aircraft at a possible new airport at Cliffe in Kent.
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
- 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.'
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