MP calls for restriction on laser pens that threaten aircraft
Speaking in the House of Commons, Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland has called for greater regulation of laser pens which threaten planes and pilots.
Addressing transport ministers, Greg asked "what measures such as licensing or classification of laser pens as offensive weapons could be considered to put a stop to this dangerous practice?"
This comes after reports that half of pilots have reported a laser pen attack in the past 12 months and over 1440 of flights have been victim of 'laser incidents' which could result in serious damage to pilot's vision and endanger entire planes in 2014, including 81 of flights from Leeds Bradford Airport, which is in Mulholland's constituency.
Laser pens sold in the UK are generally kept within acceptable safety guidelines, but reports from the National Police Air Service say that lasers which are far stronger are easily available to buy online.
This means laser pens strong enough to cause permanent damage to people's vision, as well as dazzle, distract and temporarily blind pilots if shone into their eyes, which can be done to a plane in flight from the ground, can be bought online by anyone in the UK.
Commenting, Greg Mulholland said:
"We need more changes to the regulation of laser pens which are a serious threat to pilots and air passengers, with half of pilots reporting laser attacks in the last twelve months. This has become a real problem at Leeds Bradford International Airport, which had 81 laser attacks in 2014."
"Laser pens can dazzle and even blind pilots if shone into their eyes, and this places the pilot and their passengers at great risk. The Government must consider how best to deal with this, and then act to prevent further laser attacks on planes, in order to protect pilots and their passengers."