Mary Tavy has become one of the first sites within Dartmoor National Park to have a night landing site installed so Devon Air Ambulance can land safely in the dark in an emergency.

The lights were installed on Tuesday on the recreation ground which is situated opposite the village’s post office on the busy A386.

Mary Tavy Parish Council obtained planning permission and sought grants in order to provide the village and surrounding areas with the 50m by 50m site that consists of a column of LED lighting to guide the helicopters.

Mary Tavy parish clerk Kerri Higham said: ‘The whole project cost about £6,000 — we received TAP (Town and Parish) funding from West Devon Borough Council for £2,700, the air ambulance paid £3,000, and the parish council paid the remainder.

‘The position of the night landing site means it is accessible for Peter Tavy, Brentor and all the outlying villages.

‘All councillors are very positive and happy that Mary Tavy has provided this and will help save lives. We do hope that this is never used but if this saves one person’s life then it will all be worth the time, money and effort put into this night landing site.’

Toby Russell, community landing site development officer at DAAT, said: ‘Our main focus is to help a local community set up a site that will serve the community.

‘We are delighted to work with Mary Tavy Parish Council which has been very supportive and our thanks go to it and to everyone who has helped bring it to fruition.’

Devon Air Ambulance Trust has been working with communities throughout Devon to establish a network of community landing sites to support its night flying operations.

Toby added: ‘As we all know people don’t simply stop being unwell when it is dark.

‘Reviews of our summertime extended operational hours [until 9pm] consistently show that we go to over 50 patients who, if their accident or illness had happened during the winter, we would not have been able to get to them. DAAT’s move to extend its hours of operation until midnight every day will therefore make a considerable difference to communities across Devon.’

A community landing site, which is developed and part-funded by the local community, can be located on a green, field, sports pitch or playing field. Floodlighting is also an essential component of a community landing site to help illuminate the site during landing and take-off. A community may be able to adapt existing lighting at a site or utilise existing infrastructure to support new lighting. Where there are no existing lights or infrastructure at a site DAAT would recommend installing a 10m high column with a set of two LED panel lights which can be powered via mains electricity supply or an ‘off-grid’ solution.

The site at Mary Tavy will be operational from November 6.