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BIRDWATCHERS and conservationists are raising their concerns over “unbelievably dangerous” powered paragliders on Wirral’s coastline.

Known as the simplest of all powered aircraft the paramotor consists of a small motor which drives a propeller providing thrust for take-off and is worn like a backpack under a paraglider wing.

Local wildlife groups are campaigning that much of the borough’s wetland wildlife are being left to find new homes after disturbances to their natural habitat caused by these powered paragliders.

Deemed as a Special Protection Area the Dee Estuary is home to many birds such as the bar-tailed godwit, marsh harrier and redshank, but according to Dee Estuary website manager and keen birdwatcher Richard Smith, 67, from West Kirby, we run the risk of saying goodbye to these birds if something isn’t done to protect the Borough’s wildlife.

Richard told the Globe: “Today many thousands of these birds are driven from vitally important feeding areas by these paramotors that fly 10 to 30 feet off the ground. Over the Christmas period many hundreds of birdwatchers come to the area to see the magnificent spectacle so it’s a shame when there’s no birds to be seen.

“The wildlife around the Dee Estuary is crucial so when people use paramotors around our shores it’s a massive disturbance as the birds believe they are much bigger birds of prey.

“In Parkgate they’re flying just a few feet from the marsh which is teeming with birds who have nowhere to go so all the birds fly up in the process and scatter.

“There’s a huge risk to the public too – the thought that they could crash into crowds with them going out nearly every weekend and bank holidays in cold weather makes you think something terrible is easily going to happen.

“Paramotors have also been spotted taking off near Leasowe Lighthouse on Council owned land which they’re not permitted to do – it’s very hard for the council to prosecute or track down the people using these devices as there are no license plates and they’re so easily derigged and dismantled.

“This activity has been going on for years but it’s become particularly bad over the summer with many people now using Leasowe Common to take off. There are occasionally a few months when you won’t see them due to bad weather but they are becoming more and more frequent - something just has to be done to protect our wildlife.”

Chairman of the North Wales Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club, Jeremy Hazzard added: “I must say first of all that the North Wales HGPC is involved only in non-powered soaring flight by Hang Gliders and Paragliders (PGs) from sites within NE Wales – for example, the Dee Valley and Clwyd Range.

“The only site we have outside Wales is at the Thurstaston Country Park when wind conditions allow, but all flying here happens within the narrow band of lift formed by the wind rising over the cliff edge and for a few hundred metres north and south from take-off. To fly seaward out of the lift band is inviting a muddy wetting at least.

“Being powered, often by two-stoke engines, PPGs attract more attention and criticism than unpowered PGs which are as good as silent in flight.

“We are aware that there is a group of individuals who fly PPG's on the Wirral, and I know that there have been other complaints about about their activities: but we do not know who they are or if they are in any form of club or organisation. One hopes that the individuals might be members of the sport’s governing body, the British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (BHPA) but I am sure many are not.”


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It may be  strictly within the law to fly in unrestricted airspace and even if the content of articles like this are "unfair" it must be simple self interest for us not to wind up "the Public" in all circumstances, if we do not want to hasten Registration or Licensing.

I'm sure the CAA will work on the principle that if they can ignore us because they dont hear about us then they dont need to do anything . As soon as someone starts poking them asking "what theyre going to do about this menace" they may be forced to act. 

So I will always avoid generating comment even if  I'm legally within my rights to fly in an area......its simple self interest, I accept that as the cost of not being regulated.


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Not having knowingly flown over bird sanctuaries or like protected areas, my concern would be if flying over birds then possibly they might get frightened and scared, which means they'll scatter in-turn flying upwards and or in any direction, and are more likely to accidentally fly into me or my equipment and that's Not good and possibly end in someone or something getting damaged.

Or is this just me over thinking the situation :?:.


YES comments welcome 9_9

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Not good at all, With so many areas where you can fly paramotor, it's stupid to do it on low altitude over a known wildlife area. We should always as humans do our best to respect nature.
This is a very serious topic since it's bad for everyone involved, best is to just stop with the flying in areas like this, or atleast keep a very high altitude when passing by.

Make sure the pilots involved get the information, contact the bird watchers and apologise for the bad judgement, and keep talking about this topic with new pilots. This will destroy the fun for all pilots if it doesn't stop immediately.

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The problem with Wirral is that .... no matter, where you go from Leasowe Lighthouse, there will be birds everywhere and even having 500ft the birds are disturbed. 

I truly believe that nobody here flys over restricted area (Hilbre Island + 1 nautical mile, SFC - 500ft). However there are a lot of birds at river Dee area (no rectrictions) where the photos were maid and in front of West Kirby, Hoylake and Meols areas.

There are a lot of birdwatchers at all these areas and they are not happy with any flights. I think this conflict of interests will end up badly and I stopped flying at Wirral area...



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""Chairman of the North Wales Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club, Jeremy Hazzard:  “The only site we have outside Wales is at the Thurstaston Country Park when wind conditions allow, but all flying here happens within the narrow band of lift formed by the wind rising over the cliff edge and for a few hundred metres north and south from take-off ""

Looking at the map - Thurstaston is in Liverpool airport zone of responsibility as well. Wellcome to our boat Jeremy...

Edited by Ivan
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