06 Nov 2005

Environmental Affairs : a new Working Group

Thomas Sénac, from France, was appointed to chair a new Environment Affairs Working Group. Some first proposals were agreed upon, and Thomas will start to implement them. He will also contact the FAI Environmental Commission chairman, Michael Goth, to find out what is expected from the new Working Group and how he can contribute to the Commission.Contact Thomas Sénac Environmental questions and nature protection Nature protection and environmental questions are becoming a real concern in some (all?) countries for paragliding and hang gliding pilots. This trend is logical, due to the fact that people are practicing more and more sports in nature. Among these sports, paragliding and hang gliding are specific (and somewhat apart from other aerial sports). Even if we use natural power to fly (wind and sun), there can be some concerns about nature protection and environmental impacts. For example, our take-off and landing sites are in most cases situated in nature. Sometime they can be seen as disturbing the landscape, if only for the equipment we need such as road access, car transportation, carpet, ramp… When a place is used often for starting or landing, pressure on vegetation can be very strong. In some places, we fly near or above natural protection parks, and the - real or not - disturbance to protected fauna can be a big concern. In others, we share the space with the birds and often fly near their nesting places. We also share nature with other users, like the hunters, who might have different opinion about what needs to be done to protect nature. At last, Administrations (States, Regions, Counties…) have their own environmental priorities, that might conflict with ours. What to do? Up to now some subjects have been studied by different associations separately and independently. It is better to work together, and to share ideas and costs. The Working Group project is thus:

  • to contact national associations to identify relevant persons
  • to build a net of competent people who will work together through e-mail
  • to list our environmental problems, exchange our knowledge and experiences, collect specific legislation, assess the situation in each country, compare the ways we deal with problems...
  • to help the countries where no experience exists.

We could also study :

  • the life cycle of different material, in cooperation with the manufacturer (for example fabric, from petroleum to the dump)
  • the global impact of our sport on the environment.

We will contact the FAI Environment Commission and take part in meetings at this level and with other authorities. Later, if needed, CIVL could subsidize a couple of scientific studies, along the lines of what has been done with bird disturbances in France, Germany, the UK… These could be done by students to lower the cost. Of course, this project is not rigid and will develop according to its members input.