§ 5. Mr. Campbell-Savours
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received from the county of Cumbria on the storage and deployment of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation equipment within the county of Cumbria.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (Mr. Jerry Wiggin)
In addition to written representations in the past from the hon. Gentleman about the role of the NATO armament depot, Broughton Moor, a letter on the same subject from the secretary of west Cumbria peace group was answered by an official in the Ministry of Defence in April 1982.
§ Mr. Campbell-Savours
Is it not true that the Secretary of State has received many angry letters about military aircraft training exercises over the national park? Is he aware that joy rides over Lake Windermere by the Patronage Secretary and soothing letters to the Home Secretary do not satisfy public anxieties? Will he stop those flights taking place and also confirm that no nuclear weaponry is held at the Broughton Moor dump?
§ Mr. Wiggin
The hon. Gentleman knows full well that we never confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons.
I understand the suffering that low flying causes to the hon. Gentleman's constituents. Nevertheless, he well understands that such manoeuvres are essential training for the Royal Air Force. That is in the interests of Britain's defence and I believe that it has the support of the vast majority of the British people.
§ Mr. Robert Atkins
Does my hon. Friend recognise that there are many people in Britain who are eminently delighted that there are aircraft of the Royal Air Force, perhaps even of the Fleet Air Arm, which are flying low in training in order to fulfil a role in the defence of our liberties and freedom as and when necessary?
§ Mr. Wiggin
I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I seek to investigate all serious complaints in this matter as understandingly as I can. As I said, I have every sympathy for the discomfort caused and we do everything possible to minimise it.