§ Mr. McGrady
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to carry out a review of the high incidence of low-flying helicopter activity in the constituency of South Down.
§ Mr. Kenneth Carlisle
There are currently no plans to carry out a review of low-flying helicopter activity in the 729W South Down area. Flights by military helicopters are carried out for operational reasons, in order to support the RUC in the fight against terrorism. Helicopters are an essential element of the security forces' effort to counter the terrorist threat, which in South Down resulted in the murder of seven soldiers between 1989 and 1990. Helicopters may need to fly low for operational or weather reasons. I regret the inconvenience that this may cause some of the hon. Member's constituents but I can assure him that the amount of flying is kept to a minimum consistent with operational needs.