Belfast Telegraph

Army copter scares cattle to death - Tyrone farmer awarded £40,000

By Adrian Rutherford

A farmer has received £40,000 in compensation after a low-flying Army helicopter scared his cattle to death.

The settlement was one of the largest of its type made by Ministry of Defence officials in the UK.

The farmer was awarded £42,700 after the incident in Co Tyrone last year.

He contacted the MoD when cattle died after they were spooked by the noise of the Puma helicopter flying across his land.

The claim also included a £515 settlement for "personal injury".

It was one of a series of incidents involving low-flying MoD aircraft, which resulted in more than £1m being paid out last year.

In another case a chicken farmer in England received £18,000-plus after his birds stopped laying eggs because they were spooked by military aircraft.

Payments were also made to people who lost horses, cows and puppies.

The compensation payments emerged after a Freedom of Information request to the MoD.

The Co Tyrone incident was one of the largest settlements.

The MoD also sanctioned a £25,000 payment to a falconry centre in Derbyshire that lost a number of precious birds of prey when a helicopter flew over it.

It is believed eight birds, including owls, hawks and falcons, were killed when they flew into the wire walls of the aviary as they tried to get away from the noise.

The chicken farmer in Sussex was awarded £18,708 after egg production fell when birds were frightened by an Apache helicopter. Another £20,000 was awarded after an injured horse lost its foal in Dyfed, Wales.

Some £2,200 was awarded to the owner of a parrot from Ayrshire in Scotland which died after being scared by a Hercules transport plane flying over its owner's home. And members of a therapy group were compensated after their tranquillity was disturbed by aircraft. Many of the compensation payouts come with confidentially agreements so people cannot disclose details.

An MoD spokesperson said: "The MoD treats all flying complaints seriously and while we have a responsibility to ensure that military aircrews are fully trained and prepared for operational duty, we continue to do all we can to minimise disturbance."

Factfile

Other payouts:

  • £25,000 - falconry centre lost birds in Derbyshire
  • £18,708 - fall in egg production after chickens were frightened in Sussex
  • £20,000 - injured horse lost its foal in Wales

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