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Low Flying

Volume 264: debated on Thursday 19 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 20 December 1994, Official Report, column 1186, if he will list the date, location, type and nationality of aircraft involved, and circumstances of each of the breaches of low flying regulations over Wales in 1992, 1993 and 1994; and if he will provide similar details for the period since his previous reply. [37609]

Details of breaches of military low flying regulations over Wales confirmed by RAF police investigations are as follows:

DateLocationNumbers and type of A/CNationalityNature of breach
1992
22 JanuaryWelshpool, Powys2x Sea HarrierRNWelshpool Airport avoidance area
3 FebruaryTalgarth, Powys1x HawkRAFBlack Mountain Gliding Club avoidance
4 FebruaryWelshpool, Powys2x JaguarRAFWelshpool Airport avoidance area
10 FebruaryWelshpool, Powys1x JaguarRAFWelshpool Airport avoidance area
21 AprilBodelwyddon, Clwyd1x Fi111USAFGlan-Clwyd hospital avoidance
21 MayWelshpool, Powys1x A10USAFWelshpool Airport avoidance area
RAF avoidance
23 JuneWelshpool, Powys1x TornadoareaWelshpool Airport
1993
22 MarchRuabon, Clwyd1x F15USAFMonsanto Chemcial Works avoidance
16 JulyWelshpool, Powys1x TornadoRAFWelshpool Airport avoidance area
19 JulyBuilth Wells, Powys1x HarrierRAFRoyal Welsh Agricultural Show temporary avoidance
21 JulyBuilth Wells, Powys1x HarrierRAFRoyal Welsh Agricultural Show temporary avoidance
1994
17 JanuaryRuabon, Clwyd1x HerculesRAFMonsanto Chemical Works avoidance
17 MayNear Hay-on-Wye, Powys1x HawkRAFHay Bluff Hang Gliding site avoidance area
1 JuneNear Hay-on-Wye, Powys2x F15USAFHay Bluff Hang Glidng site avoidance area
1 JuneNear Hay-on-Wye, Powys2x F15USAFFlying in UK Low Flying System outside of allocated times
23 JuneNear Hay-on-Wye, Powys1x HawkRAFHay Bluff Hang Gliding site avoidance area
20 JulyRuabon, Clwyd1x TornadoRAFMonsanto Chemical Works avoidance
28 JulyNear Hay-on-Wye, Powys1x F15USAFHay Bluff Hang Gliding site avoidance area
28 JulyNear Hay-on-Wye, Powys1x HerculesRAFHay Bluff Hang Gliding site avoidance area
4 AugustGlyn-Neath, Dyfed2x F15USAFRoyal National Eisteddfod temporary avoidance area
9 AugustNear Hay-on-Wye, Powys2x HawkRAFHay Bluff Hang Gliding site avoidance area
13 SeptemberBridgenorth2x F15USAFUnauthorised flight within night UKLFS
Information for 1995 is not yet available.
The total of seven breaches in 1992 is one lower than identified in the answer to the hon. Member on 20 December 1994,

Official Report, column 1186. The latter answer incorrectly included one incident involving flight through an area notified as a warning to aircrew rather than as a mandatory avoidance.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 20 December 1994, Official Report, column 1186, if he will make a statement on (a) the disciplinary actions taken against aircrew involved in each of the breaches of low flying regulations over Wales during 1994 and (b) the lessons learned from each incident. [37610]

None of the confirmed breaches by United Kingdom aircrew resulted in court martial or summary proceedings under the service discipline Acts. Such action is rare and is generally appropriate only if a breach of regulations resulted from negligence, indiscipline or a disregard for the rules. However, where formal disciplinary action is not appropriate, aircrew who have breached regulations may be interviewed by their station commander or other appropriate senior officer. Such action could be recorded on individual's career records and affect flying status and promotion prospects. It is not our policy to release details of such action. It is also the responsibility of senior officers to ascertain what lessons there are to be learnt from such incidents; central records are not maintained.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the locations and dates of periods of covert monitoring of low-flying operations conducted by Royal Air Force police since 30 April 1993. [37535]

Since 30 April 1993 the RAF police have carried out covert surveys of military low flying at the following locations:

DateLocation
1993
8–10 JunePateley Bridge, North Yorkshire
22–24 JuneLlandrindod Wells, Powys
21–25 JuneNorwich, Norfolk (Skyguard deployment)
6–8 JulyFfrwdgrech, Brecon Powys
12–15 JulyLake Bala, Gwynedd (Skyguard deployment)
24–26 AugustWye, Kent
20–24 SeptemberThurso, Caithness and Sutherland (Skyguard deployment)
27 September-1 OctoberAlnmouth, Northumberland (Skyguard deployment)
26–29 OctoberChirnside, Berwickshire (Skyguard deployment)
23–26 NovemberHornby, Lancashire (Skyguard deployment)
7–10 DecemberDaventry, Northamptonshire (Skyguard deployment)
1994
25–27 JanuaryColchester, Essex
5–18 FebruaryBarnard Castle, County Durham (Skyguard deployment)
22–25 MarchLockerbie, Annandale and Eskdale (Skyguard deployment)
26–29 AprilBroadway, Hereford and Worcester (Skyguard deployment)
24–27 MayHeckington, Lincolnshire (Skyguard deployment)
28–30 JuneHaddington, Lothian
12–15 JulySandback, Cheshire (Skyguard deployment)
23–26 AugustCrediton, Devon (Skyguard deployment)
DateLocation
20–23 SeptemberAmbleside and Carlisle, Cumbria (Skyguard deployment)
18–20 OctoberMilton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
1–4 NovemberLampeter, Dyfed (Skyguard deployment)
29 November-1 DecemberGalashiels, Selkirkshire (Skyguard deployment)
1995
1–3 FebruaryBanbury, Oxon (Skyguard deployment)
20–23 FebruaryBoston, Lincolnshire
7–9 MarchDiss, Norfolk (Skyguard deployment)
27–30 MarchAmisfield, Dumfries
4–6 AprilEden Valley, Cumbria
25–27 AprilGalashiels, Selkirkshire (Skyguard deployment)
4–5, 9–10 MayBude, Cornwall
9–12 MayBeaworthy/Okehampton, Devon
15–18 MayMachynlleth, Dyfed-Powys (Skyguard deployment)
13–16 JuneKettering, Northamptonshire (Skyguard deployment)
20–23 JuneRipon, North Yorkshire (Skyguard deployment)
5–8 SeptemberMaybole, Strathclyde (Skyguard deployment)
18–22 SeptemberEvesham, Hereford and Worcester (Skyguard deployment)
17–20 OctoberHuntingdon, Cambridgeshire (Skyguard deployment)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the NATO authorities concerning the potential use of the airspace of Partnership for Peace countries for low-flying training by the Royal Air Force. [37538]

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints were received about disturbance from military aircraft at the national eisteddfod in summer 1995. [37542]

My Department received one complaint about disturbance from military aircraft at the royal national eisteddfod between 5 and 12 August 1995.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many operational low-flying movements were authorised into each of the three tactical training areas in each month from September 1993 to the latest available date. [37546]

The number of operational low-flying movements authorised into each of the three tactical training areas in each month from September 1993 to August 1995, inclusive, is set out in the table:

Northern ScotlandCentral WalesBorders
1993
September4144
October61154
November27278
December353079
1994
January7616127
February195157
March029
April4810266
Northern ScotlandCentral WalesBorders
May171225
June6150
July97014
August123464
September665126
October3639102
November40645
December0442
1995
January39378
February526120
March276267
April01376
May1717143
June6916152
July5434189
August3492

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are taken to ensure that information on equestrian events, with particular reference to horse race meetings, is obtained by his Department for onward transmission to aircrew planning low-flying sorties. [37536]

My Department does not seek to obtain information on such events. The organisers may, however, apply for a temporary avoidance area and, given reasonable notice, we make every effort to accommodate such requests.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the minimum permitted altitude for Royal Air Force aircraft flying in Danish airspace (a) on routine training sorties from bases outside Denmark, (b) on routine training sorties conducted during deployments to Danish air bases and (c) during NATO exercises. [37540]

Royal Air Force aircraft may, with the prior approval of the Danish authorities, fly in Danish airspace down to an altitude of 2,000 ft over populated areas and down to 1,000 ft over non-populated areas; flying down to 500 ft may also be authorised within designated exercise areas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints were received by his Department from addresses in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland in each month since January 1994. [37543]

The numbers of inquiries and complaints relating to military low flying received by my Department since January 1994 from addresses in England, Scotland and Wales were as follows:

MonthEnglandWalesScotland
1994
January2372731
February1291955
March2182866
April2645093
May3723790
June50261104
July5529189
August57488154
September33460120
MonthEnglandWalesScotland
October35177101
November3655494
December1742592
1995
January26610101
February2461197
March2662191
April3916380
May476131156
June52378188
July67091190
August48275165
September359105104
In addition, my Department has received a number of inquiries and complaints about other matters, details of which are not held centrally.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his current policy on the retention in departmental records of the minutes of meetings of the military low flying management group; and what changes in that policy have taken place since 1979. [37537]

The minutes of the military low flying management group are placed on registered departmental files which are then reviewed in accordance with the provisions of the Public Records Acts of 1958 and 1967 and selected for retention or destroyed. Given that the group deals with short-term management issues, the minutes of its meetings do not record the discussion of issues which would justify their permanent retention. There has been no change in this policy since 1979.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the crew of the Tornado involved in the infringement of the Welshpool airport avoidance area on 16 July 1993 were found (a) to have been using a low flying chart marked with the January 1993 western extension to low

Ex nameDateNumber/Type of AircraftSquadronsWork-up location
1992
Red Flag 92-2January/February8 Tornado GR114/17/27UK/Goose Bay
Cope Thunder/Distant FrontierApril8 Tornado2/20UK/Goose Bay
1 VC10101
1 C-13047
Red Flag 93-1October8 Tornado GR12/9/617UK/Goose Bay
6 Tornado F35/29
2 VC1010/101
1 C-13047
1993
Cope Thunder/Distant FrontierApril8 Tornado GR113/27/31UK/Goose Bay
6 Tornado F35/29/43
1 VC1010
2 C-13047
Maple FlagMay10 Jaguar6/54UK
Red Flag 94-1October8 Tornado GR114/17UK/Goose Bay
1 C-13047
1994
Red Flag 94-2January8 Tornado GR113/14/31UK/Goose Bay
Maple FlagMay10 Jaguar6/41/54UK
Cope Thunder/Distant FrontierJune8 Tornado GR12/9UK/Goose Bay
6 Tornado F35/11
1 VC10101
Air WarriorAugust10 Harrier3/4UK

flying area 9 and (b) to have obtained an authorisation to fly in low flying area 9. [37545]

The low flying chart current on 16 July 1993 reflected the westward extension to low flying area 9. The RAF police investigation did not establish whether the aircrew involved in the infringement of Welshpool airport were using a current chart. The aircrew had not planned to fly in low flying area 9 and had not obtained authorisation to do so.