Agenda item


            The Committee considered a request from The George Best Belfast City Airport (GBBCA) regarding bird strike management at Victoria Park. 


            The Members were advised that the control of birds in the flight path to the airport was a requirement of the airport’s Civil Aviation Authority licence.  In line with GBBCA’s national aerodrome license requirements and associated guidance material presented in CAP772:  Wildlife Hazard Management at Aerodromes, and that the airport was required to identify sources of risk and to reduce and maintain any risk to an acceptable level in compliance with the Civil Aviation Authority licensing requirements. 


            The Members were reminded that the Committee had granted a similar request for rookery management at the December 2021 meeting of the Committee.  Following the works, the GBBCA had reported that the post breeding rookery management had seen a further reduction in nesting rooks the following spring and a redistribution of nests to another location within Victoria Park. With progress made and still potential for the rookery to expand, the airport had identified the need to follow up with another session of winter nest removal and nest site discouragement.


            He detailed that the proposed works would include:


·        the removal of old rook nests to take place during the works period;

·        any necessary thinning of sheltering pines, structural pruning of preferred nesting trees, and reducing shelter from ivy.


            The Committee was advised that, if approved, the GBBCA would appoint a suitable contractor with previous experience to undertake the works.  In addition, officers would review the submitted risk assessment and insurance certificates in line with procedure and work with Legal Services to issue the requested licence.  The licence would include relevant conditions to ensure that the airport had confirmed that all works were permissible and that any required licences were in place to permit the works to take place within the required timescales. The licence would also place an onus on the airport to ensure that health and safety measures were implemented, essential signage was assembled and one-way systems were established where necessary.


            A Member noted the need for the required works from a health and safety perspective but requested that the Council write to the NIEA seeking it to ensure that the works were undertaken as sensitively as possible to ensure that the habitats and consequently the populations of both Canadian geese and mute swans were not detrimentally affected.


The Committee:


·        agreed the request from George Best Belfast City Airport (GBBCA) to permit access under licence to Victoria Park to facilitate rookery management and to undertake further winter nest removal and nest site discouragement during mid-January 2023;

·        noted that the licence would permit works to commence in early January and end on 31st January 2023 and permit GBBCA thereafter to carry out monitoring until 31st March 2023, subject to the terms and conditions;

·        noted that any decision to grant permission was subject to a legal agreement that would be developed by the Council’s Legal Services Department which would ensure that any works were permissible, and the required NIEA licence and consents were in place; and

·        agreed to send a letter to the NIEA asking it to ensure that it monitored carefully the works being undertaken.


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