Page last updated at 17:19 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Airport geese risks played down

Geese flying in England
Measures are in place to keep birds "under control"

The threat of a bird strike at a UK airport similar to the recent incident in New York is kept under constant scrutiny, ministers have said.

Transport minister Lord Adonis said it was the job of regulators to make sure individual airports had "effective" bird control monitoring procedures.

The number of birds in the vicinity of Heathrow was not "unusual", he added.

A strike is blamed for the crash of a US Airways jet into the Hudson river last month, which all aboard survived.

'Under control'

Both of the plane's engines were disabled after it hit a flock of birds shortly after taking off from La Guardia airport.

Asked if a similar incident could occur in the UK, Lord Adonis told peers that airports used techniques such as risk assessment and habitat management to "reduce" the risk of a bird strike.

Contrary to reports raising concerns about the number of birds near Heathrow, he said there was "nothing unusual about the number of Canada geese in the vicinity of Heathrow at the moment".

A full-time team was working at the UK's largest airport to ensure that birds were kept "well under control".

The government also had sufficient powers to control birds around airports through close co-operation with local councils and landowners, he added.

"All airports are required to have effective bird control measures and this is monitored by the Civil Aviation Authority," he said.

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