FUW reveals farmers’ reluctance to take on MoD over low flying

The Farmers Union of Wales claims that hundreds of farmers are not claiming compensation for the impact of low flying, at under 250ft, on livestock.

Peter Davies, the union’s administration director, who handled many successful claims for members when he worked in Carmarthenshire, said that too many farmers were reluctant to take on the Ministry of Defence.

“They assume that it is difficult to make a case, when it is in fact relatively straightforward,” insisted Mr Davies.

“Farmers only need the date and approximate time of the incident, and they do not have to make a note of the number of the aircraft, or the colour of the pilot’s eyes.”

A veterinary surgeon should be called, and it was extremely important the MoD was informed of a potential claim as early as possible, he said.

Where abortion occurred a post-mortem would need to be carried out, and blood samples taken from the animal immediately and 10 days later. These procedures would eliminate other possible causes of abortion.

Mr Davies had assisted member John James, Fferm Tyllwyd, Felin-gwm, Carmarthen make 20 justified claims since 1987, which resulted in compensation payments totalling more than £24,000.

Another Carmarthenshire member received £8500 after one very high quality cow aborted, and there had been several successful claims for injuries caused when spooked animals tried to jump hedges and fences.

A recent FUW survey and discussions with the MoD showed that new weapon technology has reduced the need for low flying training, but hundreds if not thousands of farmers are keeping livestock under the flight paths of fast military jets.

Livestock are still being affected, even though the number of hours of very low flying over Wales has fallen from 38 hours in 1999 to just less than 14 hours in 2005/2006.

Mid Wales is one of the RAF‘s three tactical training areas in the UK, when aircraft fly below 250ft – the others are the Highlands of Scotland and part of south west Scotland.