Be Seen Be Safer initiative to keep horses and riders safe near Shropshire air base

Shropshire's RAF base has been working with horse-riders to try to prevent horses being frightened by low flying aircraft.

One of the RAF Shawbury helicopters
One of the RAF Shawbury helicopters

The Be Seen Be Safer Project run by RAF Shawbury has been highly commended in the Ministry of Defence’s annual Sanctuary Awards. The long-running awards showcase military and civilian efforts across defence, both in the United Kingdom and abroad, to protect the environment and to make defence more environmentally friendly.

In 2013, when Squadron Leader Kim Leach arrived at RAF Shawbury as the community engagement relations officer, she noticed a number of complaints from local riders about low flying aircraft. She created the Be Seen, Be Safer project which saw RAF Shawbury aircrew training to avoid disturbing horses during low flying.

The station also now holds annual Rider Awareness Days with the support of the British Horse Society, which has recognised the project with several awards.

RAF Shawbury has also distributed over 4,000 pieces of high visibility clothing and equipment to local riders to help aircrew spot them and avoid disturbing their horses.


Richard Brooks, principal environmental support and compliance for the defence infrastructure organisation said: "We celebrate the positive work taking place throughout defence on climate change and sustainability.

A review into the department’s aspirations on how it meets the challenge of becoming more sustainable has been undertaken recently by Lt Gen Richard Nugee who also co-hosted the Sanctuary Awards.

He said: “These awards, and the articles in the Sanctuary Magazine, demonstrate that defence has the ability, skill and the willingness to improve the environment we live in. I firmly believe, with the enthusiasm of our people which is so evident, we can make a material difference to the way defence operates, to become more sustainable, less emitting and yet still defend the nation, which is our primary purpose.”

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