Low Flying (Hansard, 3 December 1990)
HC Deb 03 December 1990 vol 182 cc47-50W
Mr. Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what capacity the automated low-flying enquiry and notification system will have to trace the routes taken by low-flying aircraft, as an aid to aircraft identification in the event of a public complaint;

Northern Scotland Central Wales Borders
Low flying 1990 Operational of which movements Number of days low flying authorised Operational of which movements Number of days low flying authorised Operational of which movements Number of days authorised
January 72 14 6 5 149 14
February 26 20 1 10 347 20
March 436 18 15 15 413 20
April 118 17 2 12 216 17
May 340 13 0 2 185 12
June 8 5 6 5 68 5
July 3 15 0 0 72 17
August 74 1 97 1 530 1
September 49 1 71 1 714 1
October 74 1 32 1 709 1
1 Since 9 August, all three tactical training areas have been made available for operational low flying training on weekdays and, exceptionally in the case of the Borders TTA, on Saturday 11 August, to enable essential aircrew workup training to take place associated with the United Kingdom's commitment in the Gulf.

Mr.Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the reason for his Department's Policy of not

(2) what capacity the automated low-flying enquiry and notification system will have to produce graphic presentations showing the geographical distribution of military low-level air traffic, as an aid to management of the United Kingdom low-flying system.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

For the reasons set out in my Department's evidence to the Defence Committee's inquiry on low-flying (Official Report 120, pages 158 and 174), the ALFENS system is not intended to store detailed route information for routine daytime low-flying sorties in the United Kingdom which would be necessary to provide the capabilities mentioned. The system should, however, provide a more rapid means of tracing individual aircraft and of analysing the usage of individual low-flying areas.

Mr. Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to what period the figures for operational low-flying movements in the Borders tactical training area, provided in his reply to the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley of 14 June,Official Report, column 325, refer; and if he will list the equivalent figure for the period 1 July 1989 to 30 June 1990.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

The figures for operational low-flying movements in the Borders tactical training area provided in the reply which my hon. Friend the Member for Romford (Mr. Neubert) gave to the hon. Member on 14 June 1990 related to the periods specified in that reply. The equivalent figure for the period 1 July 1989 to 30 June 1990 is 2,025.

Mr. Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what length of time records of individual bookings into the United Kingdom low-flying system are retained.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

Such records are normally retained for three years.

Mr. Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many low-flying movements at less than 250 ft were authorised in each of the tactical training areas in each month since January; and on how many days in each month such activity was authorised in each area.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

In 1990 the number of movements authorised for flying below 250 ft within tactical training areas has been as follows:

retaining central records showing operational low-flying movements in the eastern and western parts of the Borders tactical training area separately

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

There is no such policy. Operational low-flying movements in the eastern and western parts of the Borders tactical training area have been shown separately in central records since September 1989.

Mr. Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what authorisation was given for low-flying below 250 ft over the United Kingdom on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 November; what was the area for which any such authorisation was given; how many sorties took place as a result; what types of aircraft and units were involved; and what was the purpose of the training.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

Operational low-flying training in the Borders tactical training area was exceptionally authorised over the weekend of 17–18 November for Tornado aircrew conducting training connected with our current commitment in the Gulf. However, in the event, no such low flying took place.

Mr. Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if bookings into the Borders tactical training area east and the Borders tactical training area west are recorded separately by the RAF tactical booking cell at West Drayton.

Mr. Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in what year Royal Air Force fast jet pilots were first formally qualified to fly at 100 ft.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

The information requested is not readily available, but there has been a requirement for a very limited amount of such flying for many years and this predates the introduction of the present United Kingdom low flying system in 1979.

Mr. Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the United States air force F-15 aircraft deployed to RAF Leuchars(a) during the period 17 to 28 June and (b) in the week commencing 16 July, were permitted to conduct low-flying over the United Kingdom during their deployment.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

United States air force F-15 aircraft deployed to RAF Leuchars were permitted to make very limited use of the United Kingdom low-flying system during the period 19 to 28 June, weekends excepted, in support of joint maritime course 90/2. No F-15 aircraft were deployed to RAF Leuchars during week commencing 16 July 1990.

Mr. Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what effect the agreed changes in readiness and availability of Royal Air Force forces, referred to in his reply to the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley on 1 November,Official Report, column 761, will have on the low-flying training requirements of (a) Royal Air Force, Germany, and (b) United Kingdom-based Royal Air Force units.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle

I do not expect the measures agreed so far to have any immediate effect on the Royal Air Force's requirement for low-flying training.

Mr. Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if there have been any occasions since June 1988 on which (a) the Borders tactical training area west has been activated at a time when the Borders tactical training area east is not activated and (b) the Borders tactical training area east has been activated at a time when the Borders tactical training area west is not activated.

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