Low-flying British military jet

The Ministry of Defence has paid out £1.9 million in compensation to farmers over the last four years for the impact low-flying has had on livestock.

During the period, a total of £240,000 was paid to farmers who say their poultry were frightened, that egg production was hampered and even that animals trampled each other to death.

The figures were revealed in a freedom of information request.

An RAF spokesman told Forces Network:

"Low flying is an essential part of operational military training. The MoD understands that it can be noisy and unpopular but strives to ensure that any disturbance is kept to an absolute minimum and spread as evenly as possible throughout the UK."

"The MoD will pay fair and reasonable compensation when the essential link between the presence of low-flying military aircraft and an incident has been established."

The department also made a number of single payments to animal owners, the biggest being £79,041 paid to an East Sussex farm which had hundreds of birds die following the flight of a Chinook helicopter overhead.

There have been other payments made by the MoD, including £25,000 to a falconry centre which lost birds of prey in an incident and £23,356 to a landowner in Cheshire after damage and a loss of egg production were caused.

A British Egg Industry Council spokesperson said "Low-flying aircraft can cause the birds to 'smother' in a panic reaction.

"The ones at the bottom suffocate. Many hundreds of birds can be lost in this way."

"The other possible effect on hens from stress is that they go out of egg production and the eggs the hens do produce are often poorly shelled and not fit for the table market."

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