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Fellowship will protest strongly against drones

03 October 2013

PEACE campaigners in Porthmadog say they will protest strongly against the use of unmanned aerial vehicles at Llanbedr.

The local branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Wales decided it would protest against the extension of the UAVs test flights to Llanbedr Airfield.

The decision comes after news that Llanbedr Aifield Estates has signed a deal for the testing of drones with QinetiQ, a multi-national defence technology company with a base in Aberporth, Ceredigion. The Fellowship previously campaigned against the site for this use before the airfield was sold. The airfield was issued with a certificate for research and development by the Snowdonia National Park Authority but further licences will need to be applied for before the aircraft can use the site.

A Fellowship spokesperson for the said: “The unmanned aircraft are used mainly for military purposes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Gaza where they kill terrorists but often also kill civilians. “The extension of the testing from Aberporth to include Llanbedr will mean flights over Cardigan Bay which may disrupt maritime pleasure and fishing activities.

“The sound of the drones flying along the Cambrian coast may also deter tourists as well as increase the risk of accidents. “The main concern of the Fellowship of Reconciliation is the ethical use of unmanned robotic aircraft in warfare where operators in Waddington can press a button to remotely bomb people in Afghanistan without any risk to themselves. “There are 50 civilian deaths to every one combatant death using the drones in what is called ‘spot and kill’ operations.”

He added: “The fact that the beautiful Cambrian coastline will now be used from Aberporth to Llanbedr to fly and test these drones makes us part of a killing system which extends to Afghanistan. “The Fellowship of Reconciliation Porthmadog branch will now raise local awareness of the implications of this development on local tourist and marine jobs, for the sake of a few, if any extra permanent jobs in Llanbedr.” David Young, of Llanbedr Airfield Estates said that the airfield has historically been used for testing UAVs.

Mr Young said: “UAVs, often now called UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) embrace an extraordinary variety of flying machines from not much more than model aircraft through to Aircraft like Global Hawk with a 40m wing span. “Everyone with any interest in North Wales should already be aware of two fundamental facts."

 

 Click here for the full story, or see this week's Arfon and Dwyfor edition of the Cambrian News

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