Description

Flying of microlight aircraft

Key locations

Throughout Berwickshire and Northumberland but main areas of impact around Holy Island and breeding tern colony at Long Nanny

Frequency

Mainly during the summer months

Potential issues

  • Disturbance to birds – particular issues around Holy Island and the tern colony at the Long Nanny in Northumberland
  • Shadow and shape mimics predator and birds become stressed
  • Potential bird collision

Features of Marine Protected Areas which might be affected

  • Birds  (breeding and wintering)

Details of Current Management (England)

A licence is needed to fly a microlight aircraft in the UK.  The National Private Pilot’s Licence (NPPL) is a UK specific pilot’s licence developed in 2002. To obtain a NPPL with a Microlight Class Rating you must complete flight training with a UK Civil Aviation Authority authorised flying instructor entitled to instruct on microlights.

Under the Rules of the Air Regulations no aircraft should be less than 500 feet away from any person or building. [NB: for reference 500 feet is approximately the height of the towers of the Forth Road Bridge]. Currently an informal system of incident reporting exists between bird colonies on the Northumberland coast and with the local airfields at Eschott and Athey’s Moor. Tags and ID numbers of microlight aircraft are recorded when these are seen flying over sensitive areas. Microlight aircraft which are disregarding the 500 foot limit or otherwise causing problems to birds are reported to the airfields immediately who then raise it with the pilots on their return.

Gaps in Management (England)

• No understanding of intensity of activity, or activity hotspots and how they correlate with sensitive areas along the coast • Code of conduct produced by BMAA but could be stronger on environmental impact - encourages adherence to local avoidance zones but there are no such zones established in Northumberland

Details of Current Management (Scotland)

A licence is needed to fly a microlight aircraft in the UK.  The National Private Pilot’s Licence (NPPL) is a UK specific pilot’s licence developed in 2002. To obtain a NPPL with a Microlight Class Rating you must complete flight training with a UK Civil Aviation Authority authorised flying instructor entitled to instruct on microlights.

Under the Rules of the Air Regulations no aircraft should be less than 500 feet away from any person or building [NB: for reference 500 feet is approximately the height of the towers of the Forth Road Bridge]

Gaps in Management (Scotland)

No understanding of intensity of activity, or activity hotspots and how they correlate with sensitive areas along the coast