There are renewed concerns in Wales about low flying by military aircraft and its prompted Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts to carry out a public consultation to gauge concern to prompt MOD action on the issue (link):
The Celtic League ran a vigorous campaign in the 1980/90s on this issue focusing on Scotland, wales and the Isle of Man. The problems in parts of Wales are compounded by the fact that lowflying is allowed down to 200’.
The great irony is that some of the NATO countries that use the facilities have prohibitions on low flying at such low altitudes in their home countries.
In July 1997 at its AGM in Caernarfon the Celtic League called for action on low flying and after several incidents pressed the then Defence Minister George Robertson to instate a moratorium. Robertson refused and subsequently was rewarded with a lucrative career at NATO. However pressure at the time did ensure that the MOD and RAF released statistics to the League something we had been seeking for almost fifteen years (this was pre FOI)
Celtic News on the 11th of March 1997 recorded:
“In an unprecedented move to allay fears for the safety of Welsh people following RAF Hawk safety investigations, the U.K. Ministry of Defence has released accident summaries to the Celtic League.
Celtic League General Secretary, Bernard Moffatt, is “shocked but delighted” at the move which follows 15 years of campaigning on the use of Celtic countries for military exercise. It is the first time he has known such a thing to happen.”
Robertson also suggested at the time that more low flying training could be switched to the Goose Green area of Canada a move we protested as we knew the Inuit people in that area were running their own campaign of opposition.
Though the tempo of training decreased with the end of the cold war it seems to being ratcheted up now as tensions with Russia increase. However bizarrely other NATO countries still maintain strict controls including the United States which uses the Welsh TTA see video link:
Osprey aircraft US Marine Corps:
Image: Plaid Cymru MO Liz Saville Roberts
Military Monitoring for the Celtic League