TWO new community landing sites for Devon Air Ambulance have been announced in Teignbridge which are the first in the county to be operational at night without the need for floodlighting.

Kingskerswell and North Bovey communities will be the first to provide facilities for the emergency helicopter since the charity has been able to consider areas which do not have available floodlights for night landings. 

Devon Air Ambulance now has a network of 196 surveyed floodlit landing sites allowing landing during the hours of darkness. 

But he project is now moving into a new phase to establish sites that do not need the installation of of a lighting column for floodlighting to land of which Kingskerswell and North Bovey are the first. 

Graham Coates, landing site manager at DAA, explained: ‘We have recently completed an extensive review of our night flying operations including pilot training, new advances in technology onboard our aircraft and night vision goggle (NVG) use whilst in flight. 

‘We have also looked at how these advancements can help us to attend more patients, ensuring we can get to them as quickly and as safely as possible. With all these factors in mind, and in consultation with the Civil Aviation Authority, we have been able to assess the feasibility of landing at sites without the use of lights and I am pleased to announce that going forward, floodlighting will not be required at our landing site locations.’

Kingskerswell and North Bovey now have a pre-surveyed site available with the help of both parish councils. 

Cllr John Radford, chairman of Kingskerswell Parish Council, said: ‘We’re delighted that the playing fields are now officially a Devon Air Ambulance nighttime landing spot. 

‘We are hoping that it never has to be used but with the site now operational it could potentially be lifesaving to anyone needing it in the surrounding area, something we as the parish council are proud to be able to offer the community.’

The site in North Bovey required the teamwork of the North Bovey Parish Council, Exeter Diocese, and the tenant of the landing site field to bring the project to fruition. 

Cllr Sally Button, of North Bovey Parish Council, said: ‘We’ve been working with DAA for a number of years now to get a site operational in North Bovey and we’re delighted that the project has been completed and we now have a landing site for our community.’