August 21 2014 Latest news:
By STEVE DOWNES
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
A multi-millionaire pop star ruffled thousands of feathers when he landed his helicopter on a sensitive nature reserve.
Jay Kay (pictured, right), frontman for Jamiroquai, surprised Blakeney Point’s rangers when he set down the chopper yards from where thousands of protected sandwich terns were making their nests.
The incident happened on April 12, and if it had taken place a few weeks later when the terns were breeding, could have caused them to flee and compromised the colony - which is internationally protected.
National Trust countryside manager Victoria Francis said the incident had “surprised” the rangers.
She said seasonal assistant ranger Joe Cockram was the first to see the helicopter land, and added: “It was flying west from Cley and landed fairly close to the lifeboat house on Blakeney Point.
“Joe went over to speak to the pilot and Jay Kay, who was in the helicopter, and explained that it was a sensitive area and that landing wasn’t permitted.
“They were very polite and apologised and took off again.”
She said the National Trust had subsequently written to Mr Kay “in a friendly way” to point out why the landing was a problem.
She said: “It’s one of the UK’s premier wildlife sites and is important for grey and common seals, sandwich, little, arctic and common terns, and many other breeding and migratory birds.
“On top of the wildlife, the landscape is also precious.”
Ms Francis said Mr Kay had called back to apologise “very politely”, and she added: “It could have been worse. Because it was at the beginning of the breeding season, there was no impact on the breeding birds.
“The helicopter itself didn’t leave a footprint on the ground.”
She said: “To see a helicopter land on the Point is not an ordinary occurrence, but it’s one of those things that happens as part of the rangers’ work. It shows how important it is that we have staff there to react to incidents.”