Aerial survey to fly over North Devon

The Tellus survey aircraft will be flying over North Devon in the next couple of weeks.

The Tellus survey aircraft will be flying over North Devon in the next couple of weeks. - Credit: Archant

The Tellus Airborne Survey will be carrying out low flying to map the region’s geology in the coming weeks.

A major aerial survey of the South West will be passing over North Devon in the coming weeks.

At low-flying heights of 80 to 250 metres, the Tellus Airborne Survey being carried out by The British Geological Survey is seeking to expand the geological knowledge of the region.

The wide range scientific data produced will be used to benefit the economy, environment, agriculture, land management and health of the South West, including ways to better natural hazards such as flooding or landslips.

Doctor Andrew Howard explained how the plane would methodically quarter the entire terrain in a ‘lawnmower pattern’ by flying from the coast inland north to south before turning around to scan the next 200 metre wide and 100 kilometre long strip.


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“If things go reasonably well with the weather we would expect to be in the Bideford area in the next week or two, Barnstaple the week after that and finishing in Lynton and Lynmouth by mid October,” he said.

“We know a lot about geology in Devon and Cornwall already, but there’s only so much you can do by observing the rocks at the surface. Strangely, you can tell more about what’s going on in the depths by taking measurements from an aeroplane.”

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He said they still didn’t know enough about how the rocks of North Devon were structured and fractured, so creating a more detailed map of the ground would give a better idea of which areas might be prone to flash flooding.

The Tellus aircraft will fly at 80 metres over open ground and up to 250 metres above towns and built up areas. The team are keen to hear from anyone who fears the flights might disrupt livestock or other activities.

Anyone with concerns can call the help line on 01752 931009 or contact the project team by email at TellusSW@nerc.ac.uk to find out when flights might be in their area.

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