MOD asked to stop low-flying military aircraft using Barnoldswick for target practice

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COUNCILLORS have asked the Ministry of Defence to ban low flying military aircraft over Barnoldswick after two “near misses” left residents horrified.

Pendle Council’s West Craven Committee chairman Coun. David Whipp wrote to the MOD after a second complaint from residents in Hodge Lane.

He said: “Last year there were lots of complaints when a Hercules plane flew over their houses scraping past the chimney pots.

“It dropped so low one man was looking down on the top of the plane. It struggled to get up the hill and was within a whisker of coming down. This year a Lynx helicopter was flying towards houses in Hodge Lane and when confronted with power lines had to make an extra leap over them and had to fly between two houses. A gardener said he could read the pilot’s name badge. The noise set off all the car alarms.”

The MOD replied that such aircraft as the Lynx are allowed to do low-flying practice in areas where the population is less than 10,000.

MOD guidance says: “Certain areas are specifically avoided for reasons of flight safety, such as restricted airspace around civil aerodromes, glider sites and certain industrial sites.

“To minimise disturbance pilots are instructed to avoid large centres of population over 10,000 inhabitants.

“Outside such exclusion zones it is inevitable that less populated areas will see a proportion of our low flying.”

The population of Barnoldswick was over 10,000 by the 2001 census so the MOD has been asked to strike the town from its list of suitable locations.

Coun. David Stead said: “The Rolls-Royce factory is well known to be a ‘bombing target’ for them to practice on but it should not be used as a target range, practice or not.”

Coun. Paul Maskell added he was concerned the effect low flying aircraft could have on livestock, particularly during lambing season.