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Concerns over low flying aircraft

PUBLISHED: 11:43 13 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:18 03 July 2010

Concerns that Norfolk is suffering “disproportionately” from the noise of low-flying military jets will be taken to the Ministry of Defence by two of the county's senior politicians.

Concerns that Norfolk is suffering “disproportionately” from the noise of low-flying military jets will be taken to the Ministry of Defence by two of the county's senior politicians.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and David Callaby, county councillor for Fakenham, will meet junior defence minister Kevan Jones in Whitehall today.

Mr Lamb said he collected dozens of complaints from a public meeting held in Cromer in August concerning both British and American aircraft preparing for the war Afghanistan.

Meanwhile Mr Callaby said he had received more than 30 phone calls on a single day in July when two F-15s from the US Air Force base at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk targeted Fakenham in a mock attack.

Both men said they accepted the vital need for pilots and air crews to prepare themselves for combat, but said Norfolk was bearing the brunt of the noise nuisance caused by training missions.

Mr Lamb said: “My message to the minister is this - I fully accept, as most people do, that training is vital in order to ensure that our airmen and women are safe. But we need to ensure that no single community is being disproportionately affected.

“They identify particular landmarks like Sculthorpe air base, which they will use as a target marker for their exercise. With a bit more work from the MoD there might be other targets they could use to spread the load a bit.”

Mr Lamb said he had also been told that high-altitude dog-fighting manoeuvres could be carried out just as effectively over the sea.

Mr Callaby said his concerns related to specific complaints he had received about aircraft activity on July 9.

“On that day, there were two F-15s flying very low,” he said. “I had a letter from the MoD that the planes were practising close air support and were using Fakenham as a mock target for the Taliban

“We want the minister to acknowledge that so many people were upset and were not able to get a reasonable response from the MoD. We were subjected to two hours of air activity, and two hours of continuous noise is above and beyond what most people think is acceptable.

“I accept our forces have to train for the Afghan war but why did we have to bear so much of the noise nuisance?”

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