Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Risk of Bird Strike: Is the area really devoid of wildlife as LCA claimed?

We'd disagree ( see list below). After LCA claimed it was devoid of nature in a paper to the GLA and then being told to present the proof - LCA asked The Wildlife Trust to come along and do a one day wildlife count and this was submitted with the application. And of course it did show that there was life beyond planes! But from what we have seen this was simply constrained to within the runway perimeter and therefore the findings are hardly representative for the wider area. Clearly the Safeguarding areas of 13KMs as set by the CAA would require the airport to consider issues such as bird strike beyond the airstrip and within the full expanse of the safeguarding area.

Hidden Gems of East and South East London.
LCA may like to present this as an urban area of London being nothing other than an industrial, business area with a few residential areas dotted here and there that only benefits from the airport's presence but the area has an identity and life independent of the airport.

It has a rich historic history, and has also managed to develop a rich natural history on it's doorstep. Green areas, with canals have been introduced to encourage more bird life in some areas, and the River Thames is cleaner than it has been for hundreds of years and is often celebrated as attracting more birds and fish than ever before.

It's another reason to object to the expansion and here's why;
  • We feel that flight expansion will drive a lot of the wildlife out of the area for good - some of them rare and protected such as peregrine falcons. We are pleased to say that we are in talks with and are supporting the RSPB in their work on the conservation of birds and their habitat with regard to this application.

  • Many of the birds that are present in high numbers in the area are designated by the CAA as of high risk to bird strike - their numbers are further encouraged by Beckton Sewage works, Crossness Sewage works, The Belvedere Incinerator , and the proposed Anaerobic Digestion site at Thamesmead. These businesses and flight expansion just do not mix if we are to seriously consider the safety of those using City Airport and the residents who live near to it in the event of any expansion.

CAA and Bird Strikes

"Bird Strike reporting was not mandatory until fairly recently. Even so, since 2000 there have been approximately 500 birdstrike incidents reported to CAA through the MOR system." quote from CAA site. Refer to document CAP 772 . It seems to us that little attention has been paid to CAP 772 at all by LCA. Click here to see the latest bird strike statistics.

Uncovering Those Gems:
Just in case you need convincing at just how rich our area is in wildlife: see the communities list of bird species spotted since March 2005 on and around the River Thames at: Thamesmead Riverside, Royal Docks, Gallions Reach, North Quay, Crossness. All of which are near or immediately under the low level approach, take off flight path and not more than a mile from the end of the runway:

Kestrels - Pair nesting at Artilliary Quays - resident for 3 years - raised one chick last year.
Peregine Falcons, pair of, nesting in the Royal Docks - hunt over Thames. Protected species.
Phalarope - rare visitor to the UK
Skylarks - numbers continuing to fall drastically in the UK.
Little Stint
Oyster Catchers
Canadian Geese - prolific through Gallions Reach Urban Village Canal ways and on Thames in Summer.
Swans - present on Thames and canal ways.
Great Crested Grebes
Chiff Chaffs
Long Tailed Tits
Blue Tits
Great Tits
Carrion Crows
Black headed gulls
Great Black Backed Gulls
Greylag Goose
Pied Wagtail
Grey Herons - 7 breeding pairs 2007.
Common Gull
Common Sandpiper
Herring Gull
House Martin
House Sparrow
Tufted Duck
Other wildlife spotted: Seals - 3 spotted in 3 years in the River Thames, and a wide variety of fish in the River Thames which provides a sustainable environment for the wide variety of birds in the area. All of which could suffer due to noise and air pollution.