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Roofs damaged by freak vortex winds

HUNDREDS of properties near Birmingham Airport have been re-roofed in the last six years due to freak vortex winds produced by landing aircraft.

HUNDREDS of properties near Birmingham Airport have been re-roofed in the last six years due to freak vortex winds produced by landing aircraft.

The majority of strikes have occurred around the Kitts Green area, affecting roads lying at the end of the runway, directly under the flight path.

Vortex strikes are unpredictable. Ben Hanley, working for the Environment Team at Birmingham Airport said: “Locating risk areas is very difficult, it can be the case that one side of the street has strikes and the other hasn’t, it is very difficult to predict.”

Birmingham Airport conducted a study on the nature of vortex strikes with Kinetic, a company who have worked with the Ministry of Defence. The findings have been inconclusive though it has been confirmed that less than 0.01 per cent of flights cause vortex damage.

George Megarry of Tile Cross Road is the most recent homeowner to be affected by a vortex when a strike dislodged tiles on his garage roof last Sunday, leaving a visible hole.

The airport is aware of the concerns of those living in areas at risk of vortex strikes. Ben Hanley said: “We have a strong commitment to the local community, we’ve spent over a million pounds so far on the roofing project. If we get a call about a property hit by a vortex we will make immediate repairs, and then go back at a later date to re-roof the property.” The new roofing will be “extremely robust”.

Mr Megarry is concerned by the incident, “This was the worst vortex I have ever heard, it was dangerous. If my grandchildren were here, they could have been killed.”

This is not a problem unique to Birmingham Airport and other major airports support similar schemes. Heathrow Airport is funding a £15 million voluntary Vortex Protection Scheme in which every house, school, church or hospital affected by a Heathrow vortex strike is eligible for vortex protection.

 

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