St. Agnes Head & Wheal Coates (Chapel Porth), closed to all flying due to Natural England and National Trust edict!
I am writing to inform you of a change in your license agreement for hang gliding and paragliding at Wheal Coates and St Agnes Head. We have been liaising with Natural England about various SSSI issues in our area and in doing so they have informed us that we as The National Trust can no longer issue licenses to organisations or individuals that might affect the SSSI without first applying for consent. This change will also affect other user groups such as non-powered model aircraft flying and rock climbing.
In our discussions with Natural England, there have been concerns about the impact flying may have on the breeding bird assemblage, a key feature of the SSSI designation. We have spoken previously about disturbance related issues for birds at Wheal Coates and have appreciated your approach in ceasing flying during periods where schedule 1 species have been breeding. Natural England have confirmed that the breeding bird assemblage covers breeding clifftop and seabird species within the Godrevy to St Agnes SSSI. They have informed us that in their opinion, flying hang gliders and paragliders, taking off and landing on the SSSI during the breeding season from March through to September would disturb breeding bird species that are a feature of the SSSI and as such it is unlikely that they would provide SSSI consent for this activity. They have also informed us that it is an offence to disturb nesting birds under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
We have a legal responsibility to manage our land within the SSSI and a responsibility as the National Trust to protect and care for places so that people and nature can thrive. The National Trust therefore support Natural England’s approach during this key period for bird species. Natural England have said that they would consider an application to fly outside of the bird breeding season from October through to February inclusive on the advice that we consider the potential impact of the activity on Grey Seal (also a notified feature of the SSSI) in any proposals made for consent, ensuring also that there is a plan in place for all necessary measures to safeguard against disturbance of Grey Seal with appropriate oversight and accountability, supported by a robust monitoring plan. This can be looked into with a view to submitting a consent application from October 2022 through to February 2023 for their consideration if you so wish. In addition to these asks, Natural England have requested that we put a monitoring programme in place to assess disturbance impacts and the condition of the breeding bird assemblages to do due diligence in our responsibility in managing the SSSI. Any future application for the winter months will also be under condition that these criteria remain favourable.
We understand that this represents a significant change for your group in their use of Wheal Coates and St Agnes Head but we must be clear that from this date February 7th 2022 you are no longer permitted to fly any hang gliders or paragliders within the Godrevy to St Agnes SSSI. Can you please inform all your members of this change as soon as possible as anyone flying from this date will be in breach of Natural England’s SSSI regulations which can amount to a criminal offence and a fine under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
Welcome to the KHPA Website
The Kernow Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (KHPA) exists to promote, facilitate and protect the free-flying activities of its members and visiting flyers by responsible airmanship and mutual understanding with the owners and those accountable for the land from which we have permission to fly.
All members of the KHPA and visiting flyers are required to be members of the sole UK Hang Gliding and Paragliding governing body, the BHPA. The BHPA administers a continuous pilot training scheme, from beginner to expert, and all members have world wide third party insurance protection.
The KHPA developed from the the Kernow Hang Gliding Association (KHGA) in 2002. Before that it was the Kernow Sailwing Association formed in 1975.
Our active flying membership extends from age 18 to 86 and the club is known as one of the most friendly in the country.
Have fun and fly safely.
There is a monthly meeting on the second Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in St. Rumon’s Social Club, Penryn Street, Redruth, Cornwall TR15 2SP. Telephone 01209 215743. Non-members are welcome.
We usually publish a monthly bulletin of club news, events, articles and flying reports. If you want to be on the mailing list for the bulletin please consider joining the KHPA on the Members subscriptions page.