Helicopter noise complaints rise
Published 04/01/2010 | 13:02
Complaints about helicopter overflights in Northern Ireland increased by 46% during the last financial year.
Training for Afghanistan was responsible for some of the activity highlighted by Independent Reviewer of the Justice and Security Act 2007, Robert Whalley.
Residents in Fermanagh and Tyrone were up in arms about the noise as recently as last November. SDLP MLA Tommy Gallagher said the disturbances had prompted fears of dissident attack.
"People are not happy about this activity and they feel that Northern Ireland had enough of military activity for 30 years," he said.
"If it is for training for military purposes there are other locations somewhere in England that would serve the purposes just as well.
"Nobody has come out and said exactly what is going on and if it is some kind of army activity we are entitled to know what is happening."
He said he had been contacted by concerned residents in Trillick, west Tyrone, and Irvinestown, Fermanagh.
There has been a significant amount of training across Northern Ireland. However, the 230 Squadron of RAF Puma helicopters has moved from RAF Aldergrove to RAF Benson near Oxford.
Mr Whalley said there has been a significant increase in the number of military complaints, from 85 to 124, a rise of 46%. All involved flying (all but one helicopters).
His second report for 2008/09 on the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 has been published by the NIO.