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Aerodrome safeguarding

One of the specific interest areas of safeguarding is managing changes or disruption to the local ecology. This has the potential to increase the number of birds present due to changes in food sources, roosting locations, and flight routes. Birds are the greatest threat to aerodrome safety and every airport in the United Kingdom is responsible for managing the avian population within a radius of 13km from the airport.

London City Airport has a comprehensive safeguarding policy to ensure that proposed developments and activities within the aerodrome do not affect aircraft operations in this way. This is based on making locations unattractive for birds.

For example there is a conscious effort to avoid extensive dense vegetation and gravelled areas, used on roofs, for example, as this can attract nesting birds.

The presence of any fruiting trees needs to be kept to a minimum. These include, but are not limited to species such as rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), whitebeam (Sorbus aria) and hawthorn (Cratagegus monogyna), as these trees provide a food source for multiple birds.

To deter birds from grazing and nesting on roofs, green roofs can be fragmented and should be kept small in size. If developers can implement an angled or pitched green roof, as opposed to a flat roof, this is going to be less attractive to nesting gulls and other birds. The airport for example, discourages nesting birds by using thin multiple wires and nets along tops of walls and parapet and balustrades to create an unwelcoming environment for larger birds.

As mowed lawns attract Canada geese, the airfield has taller grasses (170mm – 350mm and no higher – otherwise it could offer cover and encourage ground nesting). Shrubs with thick leaves such as Euonymus or ivy (Hedra helix) or shrubs with hairy leaves such as Brachyglottis sunshine are also effective to deter grazing.

It is not just the natural environment that can be altered to discourage birds; London City Airport also manages outdoor dining areas and methods of food waste disposal which may also attract birds.

In some cases London City Airport may wish to meet with developers and potentially audit a site to determine whether appropriate measures are taken to discourage birds.

If you have any questions relating to safeguarding please give London City Airport safeguarding department a call on 0203 203 2523 or email via



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