Wales

Coronavirus: RAF Valley accused of flouting Covid-19 restrictions

Jets like these fly from RAF Valley Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jets like these fly from RAF Valley, which has been accused of breaking Covid-19 restrictions

RAF Valley has been accused of flouting coronavirus restrictions and causing unnecessary noise during lockdown.

Politicians say concerns have been raised over social distancing and complaints made about flight noise.

Anglesey's MP and Members of the Senedd have written to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), seeking assurance that travel to and from the base was limited to critical journeys.

The RAF defended continued flights during lockdown despite the complaints.

In a letter to defence secretary Ben Wallace, Virginia Crosbie MP said: "Many constituents have deeply held concerns over the noise of several training flights for the Hawk jet and Texan aircraft over Anglesey during the lockdown period."

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS wrote: "Concerns have been raised with me that a significant number of trainee pilots may be travelling to and from RAF Valley every weekend - or at least, very regularly - from across the United Kingdom.

"Civilian staff say they are worried about the impact this might have on the local population in light of the current pandemic and how such arrangements may be at odds with restrictions against non-essential travel."

'Minimal disturbance'

The MoD told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that training remained under "constant review."

It said: "The RAF is constantly striving to ensure that disturbance is kept to an absolute minimum and that the burden of noise pollution is distributed as evenly as possible."

RAF Valley station commander Group Captain Chris Moon said the base took public health guidelines seriously.

He said it had "dramatically reduced" on-site staffing and some shifts, and "vital training" was being conducted.

"We stand by to assist the civilian authorities in the fight against Covid-19," Gp Capt Moon said.

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