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Low-Flying Aircraft (Powys)

Volume 84: debated on Tuesday 22 October 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received concerning the frequency of military aircraft engaged in low-flying over Powys.

Over the past 12 months the Ministry of Defence has received 24 representations concerning the frequency of military aircraft flights in the Powys area.

My constituents, tourists, animals, young children and others are having tremendous hardship inflicted upon them by low-flying. Will my right hon. Friend seek immediately to reduce low-flying in Powys by 50 per cent.?

When the hon. Gentleman considers my answer, he will perhaps conclude that 24 representations over the past 12 months is not exactly symptomatic of what he fears on behalf of his constituents and their animals. 'We must return to the point that I made in answering a previous question on low-flying, which is that if we reduce low-flying in the hon. Gentleman's constituency and the county in which it is situated, that can only be at the expense of the constituents of other hon. Members.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that to maintain the combat efficiency, proficiency and flight safety of Royal Air Force aircrews it is necessary that they obtain adequate low-flying experience, including occasionally over Powys? Will he bear in mind that it is equally important to retain experienced crews? Will he consider the article that appeared in Flight International, on American flying reserves, which describes the excellent value for money that they provide for the United States air force?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his point about reserves, which I accept. I endorse fully what he has rightly said about the critical relationship between the effectiveness of the RAF and its ability to have regular and intensive flying at low level.