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Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what his policy is in respect to low-flying RAF aircraft over tourism-dependent towns in coastal areas; [130458](2) whether the RAF training sorties are instructed to avoid coastlines. [130462]

RAF Flying training sorties are not instructed to avoid coastlines as flying in such areas can be considered a normal part of training. However, in order to reduce the danger of bird strikes from concentrations of seabirds or waterfowl, pilots are advised as a general rule to cross coastlines obliquely, and at a minimum altitude of 500 feet. In addition they are advised to avoid crossing the coast over resorts and holiday beaches. It is not possible to completely avoid all tourist-dependent towns as to do so would increase the impact of low-flying on other nearby areas.