Page 9 - EGO Magazine August 2019
P. 9

local // lleol                                                            local // lleol










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 This is fiction   Drone
       accidents

 By Helen Pendry  are real,
       even though
       fatalities in
       Wales are
       thankfully
       still a fiction.
 Mid winter. Mid Wales. A military drone on a training
 flight has crashed into a hillside holiday park and killed
 a woman.




 his is fiction. It’s the   UAVs flying over Aberparc’s primary   at Gatwick airport last year, where
 starting point for my   school and homes. The Watchkeeper   thousands of people were affected by
 literary thriller The   drone has a mass of 450kg and a ‘payload   the airport’s temporary closure. A BBC
 Levels, and I made it up.   capacity’ of 150kg. It’s not something   documentary broadcast on 1 July 2019
 But in the time it’s taken   you’d want ploughing into your local   – Britain’s Next Air Disaster? Drones
 Tme to write and publish   primary school … or a caravan park.  – focused on the threat posed by small   previous four years for the impact low   school in Wales. When construction
 the novel, there have been at least four   In June this year, the research and   drones to UK airspace and airports.  flying had on livestock. Of that total,   began, three Plaid Cymru members set
 accidents involving drones flown from   campaigning organisation Drone   The documentary didn’t mention   £240,000 was paid to farmers who say   fire to the place.  Military drone use is increasing, and
 Parc Aberporth in Ceredigion. One   Wars published a new report on large   accidents involving large military drones.  their poultry were frightened, that egg   Opposition to Aberporth’s drones by   with developing technology these UAVs
 crashed into trees last June, not far   military drone crashes over the past   A crash in west Wales – even when the   production was hampered, and that   groups such as The Drone Campaign   are also becoming more autonomous. In
 from the local primary school. Another   decade. Accidents Will Happen details   crash happens near a primary school on   animals trampled each other to death.   Network Cymru focuses on their use   the future, drones may be programmed
 disappeared over the sea in February   over 250 crashes, across the globe, of   sports day – isn’t as newsworthy as the   Wales’ land, sea and air has a long   in overseas wars and in support of   to choose targets based on their own
 2017.  large unmanned aerial vehicles, with   closure of a major airport. And the voices   history of being used by the MoD for   actions by the US and other countries.   surveillance data and then decide
 The unmanned aerial vehicles   most of them (178) operated by the   of west-Wales parents – at least one of   war training. In the 1930s, for example,   It decries the accidental killing of   ‘execution paths’ for themselves.
 (UAVs) tested at Aberporth are called   United States. Five Watchkeepers have   whom made complaints about drones   there was the Llŷn bombing school, and   civilians in drone strikes, and questions   Shrouded in secrecy and tested in west
 Watchkeepers and were originally   crashed in the UK since 2014, and as   flying over the school a year before the   there’s the vast and still-used military   targeted, extra-judicial assassinations.   Wales, it can be easy to forget that the
 developed by the Israeli company   many as nine crashed (accidentally) in   accident in 2017 – have been dismissed.  training area at Mynydd Epynt in the   According to a report by the All Party   private arms companies who develop
 Elbit Systems. Each one is worth £6   Afghanistan between 2009 and 2013.  As well as drones, rural Wales also   Brecon Beacons. Often, these areas   Parliamentary Group on Drones (July   and operate these military drones
 million. A military inquiry after the   Drone accidents are real, even though   contends with low-flying military jets.   were chosen after plans to use similar   2018), such use could be putting   are paid with large amounts of public
 2017 crash stated that the Ministry   fatalities in Wales are thankfully still a   In some places, like the Dyfi Valley,   locations in England were met with   British military personnel in danger of   money. It’s important that we keep an
 of Defence (MoD) and Thales (a   fiction.   there can be six jets a day flying over in   strong opposition, and that opposition   prosecution for the deaths of civilians in   eye on them. They’ll be keeping an eye
 French multinational and the aircraft’s   The mainstream media, however,   quick succession and scaring livestock,   was registered and accepted. In 1936,   drone strikes and for being complicit in   on us.
 operators) did not fully understand how   continues to focus its attention on   young children and visitors to the area   opposition to the RAF bombing school   alleged war crimes.
 Watchkeeper worked.   the potentially dangerous use of small   who don’t expect to be buzzed by a   on the Llŷn peninsula involved a   The report also stated that the drone
 That isn’t a reassuring conclusion   drones. It pays little attention to crashes   military aircraft while out walking in the   deputation representing half a million   situation was ‘deeply problematic’   Helen Pendry is the author of
 for those who live under the flight path,   involving large military UAVs.  hills. In 2018, Forces Network reported   Welsh protestors. But the UK Prime   because of the lack of oversight, while   The Levels (Parthian). She lives
 because these drones are big – as big as   Small drones, of course, were   that the MoD had paid £1.9 million   Minister, Stanley Baldwin, refused to   almost every request for information   under the Mach Loop.
 a car according to residents who’ve seen   responsible for the disruption caused   in compensation to farmers over the   hear any arguments against siting the   was ‘categorically dismissed’.




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