Updated May 4, 2021

Appeal rejected to protect bird species

An appeal has been rejected for the fourth time to use an airstrip in the North Yorkshire Moors. The appellant applied for the weekly private use of an airstrip but was rejected to prevent disturbing two protected bird species.

The application was put forward by a licensed pilot who wanted to use the airstrip for a maximum of 52 flights a year around 30 minutes each. A wildlife survey found that both goshawk and nightjar birds were located in the area, which are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

In order to protect the birds, the activity around the breeding area has to be limited to avoid "erratic flight activity".

The appellant suggested monitoring the activity of the birds when flights took place but Inspector A Caines was not convinced and commented that "creating disturbance in order to prove whether or not there is any harm to a protected species is not an appropriate course of action".

He also noted that the problems associated with disturbing these birds could not be controlled by planning conditions.

Original applications for flights in the area had requested more frequent flying but the number of flights requested had been reduced in each appeal. Even with the reductions, the inspector was not convinced as the current request could still mean "104 potential disturbance events from take-off and landing at the site".

The applicant also offered to donate £100 a month to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance service, but the inspector decided to take a cautious approach to preserve the national park as "tranquil places are rare".

The appeal was dismissed.