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Low-flying Exercises (Rural Areas)

Volume 600: debated on Monday 19 October 2015

The Ministry of Defence takes its responsibilities to the general public very seriously indeed, and measures are taken to provide a balance between essential military training and the need to avoid excessive disturbance on the ground. Low-flying activity is spread as widely as possible across the UK to minimise the impact on particular communities.

People living in Meirionnydd have spoken to me of their concerns following what has been described as the worst single near miss in Britain. This happened on 27 August last year near Dolgellau and involved three Hawk jets and two Typhoons with a combined value of £300 million. What steps are being taken by Air Command to improve safety following the UK Airprox Board’s recommendation to review flying practices in the Machynnleth loop?

Of course, such near misses are very rare indeed. All low-flying activities are meticulously planned. I am sure that lessons will be learned. The Mach loop is, in effect, a one-way circuit that runs round an area just north of her constituency to try to minimise such events. We do take these things very seriously, and a review is under way.