Llanbedr Airfield military training site plan ‘formally paused’

RAF Hawk T-2 ZK032 taxies for take off at RAF Valley. Picture by Craig Sunter (CC 2.0).

The Peace Pledge Union and Cymdeithas y Cymod have jointly welcomed the news that plans by RAF Valley to use Llanbedr Airfield to further develop their training programme are on hold.

Snowdonia Aerospace Centre had applied to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with its plans, which could have seen the RAF using the site. But according to Snowdonia Aerospace, who introduced the plans, they are now “formally paused”.

“This has resulted from the RAF currently suspending their review into looking to operate at Llanbedr,” they said.

The centre had said that its plans could bring up to 500 jobs and contribute about £19.5m to the local economy over 10 years.

Both Cymdeithas y Cymod and the PPU, however, said that they would keep a close eye on the “pause”.

Some in Gwynedd and Anglesey had objected to the rises in noise levels that would follow such an increase in training flights from Llanbedr Airfield in Gwynedd.

There was also objection to the likelihood of Llanbedr being used to train Saudi pilots, who have been trained at RAF Valley on Anglesey.

Peace Pledge Union and Cymdeithas y Cymod said they would continue the campaign against the training of pilots from Saudi Arabia at RAF Valley, as UK companies continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, which are then used in the conflict in Yemen.

‘Militarism’

“This is a pause and it is not a time to relax in our campaigning but to be vigilant in a world where the arms industry is growing and war victims increasing,” Pryderi Llwyd Jones, Chair of the local branch of Cymdeithas y Cymod said.

“Is it not time, after its long history, that Llanbedr should be developed for peaceful purposes only?”

Symon Hill, Campaigns Manager of the Peace Pledge Union, said they were “delighted” that the RAF had backed down “in the face of local people taking a stand against militarism”.

“This isn’t a one-off. If the RAF try something similar elsewhere, they will meet with the same resistance,” he said.

“Meanwhile the campaign against the training of Saudi pilots at RAF Valley is growing: the RAF back-down over Llanbedr comes less than week after a soldier based in Wales was arrested for having the courage to speak out against British support for the Saudi war in Yemen.”

Another ongoing campaign is against the development by Snowdonia Aerospace of the airfield at Llanbedr for drone testing, they said.

But this process has also been delayed by the Civil Aviation Authority because Snowdonia Aerospace have failed to reach the requirements needed to proceed.

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