Letter: Tourism in rural Britain blighted by noisy Hawk jets

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The Independent Online
Sir: Polly Toynbee is to be congratulated for pressing on with her questioning of the Defence Review remit and structure ("A Boy Scout motto: prepared for what?", 14 July).

We live near an RAF training base where activity was suddenly intensified as a result of Options for Change closure of other bases. After a year and a half of trying to elicit straightforward information from the MoD many of our questions are still unanswered. We have even been chided for our failure to "support the armed forces".

Now we learn that the noise which invades our home and blights the creation of leisure and tourist jobs in the area (circuit night flying till past 3am every six weeks in summer) is contributed to by foreign student pilots from the Arab Emirates being trained by our own RAF training division, itself now partially privatised. But just how far do complicated defence sales transactions go? Do we also blight rural Britain with the training noise of pilots from countries purchasing the Hawk, for instance? Where does legitimate defence of the realm end and the interests of the private arms industry begin?