HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 cc267-8W
Pete Wishart

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what process is required to introduce a no-fly zone of(a) commercial and (b) military flights over towns and cities in Scotland; [83528]

(2) if he will assess the no-fly zone status of commercial and military flights over areas in Scotland that contain petro-chemical plants; [83527]

(3) what plans there are to review the no-fly zone status for both commercial and military flights over towns in Scotland; [83526]

(4) what (a) commercial and (b) military no-fly zones have been in operation in Scotland since (i) January 2001 and (ii) 11 September 2001; and what locations have been covered. [83529]

Mr. Spellar

Following a request from the appropriate Government Department or, in some cases, the local police force, the Civil Aviation Authority drafts a Statutory Instrument (SI). This is ratified by the Department for Transport before being notified to the entire aviation community by means of a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM). The SI, which may be temporary or permanent in effect, is binding on civil aircraft only, but military aircraft will normally comply. This process applies to all UK airspace.

Towns and cities or petro-chemical plants do not have specific 'no-fly zones' unless already in the vicinity of restricted airspace. The Rules of the Air Regulations 1996 prohibit flying by civil aircraft below a height 1,500 feet above any town or city (unless landing or taking off). Military regulations in Volume 3, Part 1 (UK Military Low Flying System) of the UK Military Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) introduce avoidance criteria for military aircraft.

From January 2001 to 10 September 2001 there was no change to airspace restrictions in Scottish airspace currently published as permanent in the UK Air Navigation Order (ANO) and Aeronautical Information (AIP). These include the Highlands Restricted Area (HRA) and sites such as Dounreay, Faslane, Rosyth and Chapelcross.

From September 2001 the following temporary airspace restrictions have been in operation for the periods and reasons shown: 11 September to 12 September 2001, Entire Scottish Flight Information Region, in response to events of 11 September. 11 September to 12 September 2001, Entire Scottish Upper Flight Information Region, in response to events of 11 September. 11 September 2001 to 12 September 2001, Hebrides Upper Airspace Control Area, in response to events of 11 September. 22 February 2002 to 24 February 2002, Perth—Scottish Labour Party Conference. 13 September 2002 to 14 September 2002, RAF Leuchars—Air Show.

In addition, temporary restrictions were imposed around Hunterston and Torness Nuclear Power Stations from 3 November 2001, which were made permanent as from 5 September 2002.

The Government continue to monitor the number and extent of no-fly zones across the UK.