Breakthrough for birdwatchers on the headland?

Flamborough Lighthouse
Flamborough Lighthouse

Flamborough Bird Observatory wants to put a shelter on the clifftops for its volunteers who collect valuable data about wildlife every day.

It has submitted a planning application for the £40,000 project which will reinforce the area’s reputation as one of the country’s most important seabird sites.

Secretary Tony Hood said: “It is a massive step forward for us. We are quite a small observatory but this will be a great focal point and eco-tourism is a big thing these days.

“Flamborough Head is an internationally-renowned site and we’ve wanted something like this for decades.

“Our membership has increased by two-thirds this year alone and this facility is desperately needed.”

Information gathered about bird migration and populations on the headland is used by organisations such as DEFRA and the RSPB.

Tony added: “We have a daily sea watch carried out by several teams but on days when the weather is bad, they are sat under a fishing umbrella on the clifftops.

“They go out in all weathers and the information they collate every day goes on to a database run by the British Trust for Ornithology and used by government organisations.

“This will provide a safe environment for then, but we are also hoping to engage the general public, by holding seawatching days to make people aware of what’s going on in the natural world around us.”

If planning permission is granted, the hide will be built by a social enterprise project, Green Future Building, which is based in West Yorkshire.

It is designed to be able to be moved if cliff erosion becomes a factor in the future.

An initial attempt to put a shelter on the headland fell through last year because of concerns it could have affected the work of Flamborough Lighthouse.

Tony said: “This is our second attempt at building a seawatching hide on the outer headland.

“We tried last year but were unsuccessful because it was felt it could block a tiny percentage of light from the lighthouse and communication signals, so this time we have consulted more with Trinity House and they have no objections.

“Last time was about safety grounds, which we were fine about, so we have tweaked the design to a single storey building which is 70m away from the fog station, at a slightly different angle and the land drops down a little bit there.”

The planning application is open for comments on the council website until December 18, with a decision expected early in the new year.