Tuesday 6 December 2016

MoD faces compensation claims over sonic boom incidents

Published 07/06/2016 | 22:16

The RAF said the incident had to be balanced with the need for national security in an uncertain world
The RAF said the incident had to be balanced with the need for national security in an uncertain world

A string of compensation claims have been made to the Ministry of Defence after sonic booms from scrambled Typhoon jets caused damage to homes and property across Yorkshire.

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People across large parts of the county heard what sounded like two loud explosions on May 2 after the aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby to intercept an Air France passenger plane which was not responding due to a radio communication problem.

Houses shook as the planes flew over Yorkshire to identify the unresponsive aircraft and accompany it in to land at Newcastle airport.

In figures obtained by a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the i newspaper, claims have since been made to the MoD for damage to windows, roofs, ceilings and a fish tank.

The MoD has paid out just under £640 for the damage and is dealing with another seven claims.

The figures show that eight "sonic incidents", which were likely to be the result of RAF aircraft undertaking supersonic flight, have been reported to RAF police since January 2013.

During that time sonic booms have been heard in Norfolk, Wales, Cambridgeshire and Yorkshire.

Dozens of compensation claims have been made to the MoD as a result of these incidents, with a total of £3,576.26 being paid out.

One claimant received £780 for damage to patio doors and a chandelier after a sonic incident over Peterborough in June 2014. The same event resulted in a successful claim of £500 after the noise caused one startled person to be involved in a car accident.

In response to the FoI request, the MoD said supersonic flight is not routinely permitted over land in the UK and training is carried out over sea.

The letter said: " Recent reports of supersonic flight overland have been caused by RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft who have been on air defence missions authorised to transit at supersonic speed for operational reasons.

"Any inconvenience caused to the public is regretted but this must be balanced against the need to maintain national security in an unpredictable and dangerous world."

Press Association

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