When I lived over looking the Wash back in the early 80's. I heard a clicking sound in the corner. When I investigated I found sparks jumping the gap between the earth wire & my long wire on my SWL radio
. What made it a bigger learning point was the fact that there was no lightning around that night. That was a lesson learned, a bleed point can be useful.
Have you looked at kite lifted antennas? They all have a static bleed point. Or they do if the person knows what they are doing. Wind & rain induced static can be a massive issue & yes even in the UK.
A static bleed point is no real good when it comes to lightning, but a close call can be suffered safely with no loss of ATU or radio.
All a static bleed point does is it simply gives electrical build up in the antenna an easy path to earth. One of the old methods is a spark plug, the modern method is a bleed resistor to earth & that could be simply be an appropriate resistor between earth wire & long wire on the back of an ATU. But preferably something more efficient.
Here I earth what I can & hang the ends of my various coax outside of the shack when lightning threatens. But having had my hand on the coax when a massive bolt of lightning lit the room up a few months ago, I am not now so sure disconnecting coax is such a bright idea.
My Diamond CP-6, does not like any form of earthing & SWR goes through the roof if I use even a lightning resistor, so I have just earthed the pole the antenna is mounted to. Hoping that gives a easier route to earth. But most of my antennas have lightning resistors fitted, not that I have any real faith in them & on my longwire I simply use a 9:1 complete with earth rod at it's feed point. Again in the hope that lightning would take the shortest & easiest route there too. Also the earth rod helps to reduce static at the receiver a little.
My Windom is in the loft & it's there so I can have a lightning season safer antenna.
I cannot remember who told me, but it was once told that following WW2 a lot of churches in France suffered a lot of damaging lightning hits. The reason they discovered was that the French resistance had cut the earth straps on Churches using the top as an antenna & the bottom as their earth. Once fixed the rate of strikes reduced. So I take the view that earthing probably does not increase the risk of a hit, it simply reduces the chance of a damaging strike.