Princes William and Harry have become embroiled in a row over noise pollution caused by helicopters at the base where they recently completed training. The two Princes have just passed out from RAF Shawbury, Shrops., where pilots learn and practise new manoeuvres before deploying to Afghanistan.
But residents of nearby Eccleshall, Staffs., have officially complained about the noise caused by helicopters hovering above their village day and night. They invited RAF officers to attend a parish council meeting on Wednesday night and the situation will now be officially investigated.
Group Captain Warren James, station commander of RAF Shawbury, admitted that Prince William and Harry could be responsible for the disturbance.
He said: ”Prince Harry finished his training in December and Prince William finished in January. So it could have been them. They were both fantastic.
”They were treated exactly the same as everyone else, because they had to be. They were both known as Flight Lieutenant Wales.”
The Parish of Eccleshall, which has a population of 6,300, is situated 20 miles from RAF Shawbury.
However, over the last six months villagers have noticed scores of helicopters passing over the village and carrying out noisy hovering exercises at night.
It is extremely likely that the Princes are responsible for some of the noise pollution because Harry completed his training in December and William finished in January.
Parish councillor Phil Baskerville revealed that he sent a letter of complaint after 17 helicopters passed over his garden in one morning.
He said: ”I was in my garden recently and I counted 17 helicopters passing above. But we realise the RAF is not doing this for a laugh, there is a reason.”
Eccleshall resident Alan Brys added: ”It is annoying. At times it has seemed as if every time I went out of my house there was a helicopter hovering above me.
”They are quite noisy and often they would be hovering directly above with the lights on, often at night.
”I then went fishing at Baden Hall and you just want a bit of peace when you are fishing, but again there was a noisy helicopter hovering above.”
Group Capt James promised councillors that he will find out if helicopters are using areas above Eccleshall for regular training exercises.
He said: ”We are doing more low flying and more night flying. The quicker I can get the cadets trained, the quicker they are ready for combat situations in places like Afghanistan.”
*RAF Shawbury, which has been training pilots since 1917, teaches about 1,000 recruits every year.