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Flights over SSSIs and nature reserves


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Good morning all,

I manage the Humber Estuary European Marine Site, which is a SSSI, Special Area of Conservation, Special Protected Area and Ramsar site. As far as designations go, it's pretty much got them all. As you may be aware, we are now moving into ground nesting bird season, with a lot of delicate species residing along the coastline (not just on the Humber), so this is a crucial time of year for them.

I have used the search function and have seen a few posts (from other places in the UK) stating that unless listed as a Bird Sanctuary, it's very difficult to know where is and isn't a sensitive area to fly. I have been having conversations with the CAA about adding key areas on the Humber as 'Bird Sanctuaries', but they ask that all other avenues to rectify the situation have been exhausted before they will consider adding it to their maps. I have been working with a few local paramotorists to understand more about the sport, what it is you need, how you fly etc.

The way I always try to work with these situations (and in life in general!) is that it is not a case of Us vs Them, or Them vs Us, but both of Us vs the Situation. So the question that I wanted to ask you is:

  1. What information would be useful to you to avoid disturbance to wildlife/habitat over protected sites?
  2. Where should it be advertised for maximum visibility?

Any thoughts welcome 🙂

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Its tricky... I tend to look at maps (Google / Airspace / OS) when looking for a new spot to explore and were I need to tread carefully.
There are a few places I avoid that are not marked.
Both our interests tend to intersect on the same type of remote arias but it is my experience that pilots will avoid stepping on other peoples toes when they are in the know (It ruins the mindset)
An idea... In any hides, or carried by interested parties, it may be an idea to have a sign that you can grab an point at any pilot when there is an incursion into your peace n quiet.
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Don't get angry, that pilot is out looking for an escape into the wilderness just like you are...  I am 99.9% sure if you flashed that sign, you will get an apology wave and that pilot will peel off and avoid that aria in future.
Be ready to inform any "new" incursions (unlikely to be the same pilot)... It is possible that word will get around and incursions become rare.

Try not to "bagsey" the whole planet... We are a rare breed ourselves :) 

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Good response Mark.

Not being on airspace maps really doesn't help the situation. The mention of hides has sparked an idea, Jackson could you put large 'Bird Sancuary' signs on top of all the hides.

Would need to be large to be seen at height.

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4 hours ago, Jackson Sage said:

I have been working with a few local paramotorists to understand more about the sport, what it is you need, how you fly etc.

Your website doesn't seem to offer any maps of sensitive arias.
If you have issues with paramotors in particular, an additional tucked away section on your website that included the words "Humber Paramotors" may draw some attention from the relevant parties where you could include maps, nesting times/requested exclusion zones or whatever you chose to include on that page.

Alans idea ought to work towards having people who spot them research the extent of boundaries so a map with a boundary circle and a height (forming a cylinder) might be helpful.
So some sensible search terms that will draw the relevant researchers to your map would help.
And remember, there may already be folks who avoid arias they know about... Like I said, there are hides I know of that are not marked and I give them a wide birth or quietly tip-toe over at +1000ft 

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