Casebook: Appeal cases - Leisure and Entertainment - Microlight flights rejected in countryside location

An inspector has upheld an enforcement notice directed against the use of agricultural land near the Somerset coast for microlight aircraft flights, ruling that the activity harmed the nature of the countryside.

The council alleged that the unauthorised use harmed important bird habitats in the nearby Severn Estuary. It also complained that the number of flights harmed residents' amenity, undermined the use of the surrounding countryside for recreation and adversely affected the undeveloped nature of the coastal zone. The inspector decided that local habitats would be unaffected if a one kilometre-wide no-fly zone were enforced. The impact on local residents would not be seriously harmful, he held.

However he was concerned about the adverse impact on the recreational potential of the area, judging that the flights would undermine its sense of remoteness and tranquillity. The activity introduced a development to an area that was intended to remain largely undisturbed by urban influences, he concluded.

DCS No: 30538681; Inspector: David Baldock; Inquiry.

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