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Greg Mulholland backs bid to tackle problem
9:20am Tuesday 29th March 2011 in Local news
An MP has backed the Government’s efforts to tackle the number of dangerous laser pen attacks at Leeds Bradford Airport.
In December, it was revealed there had been almost 100 incidents of laser pens being shone at planes taking off or landing at the Yeadon airport in 2010 — up from 39 in 2009.
Bosses at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said they were becoming increasingly alarmed at the incidents with pilots being dazzled and distracted, while North West Leeds MP Greg Mulholland wrote to ministers about his concern at the increase in attacks at the site.
Mr Mulholland has received a letter from Theresa Villiers MP, the minister of state for transport, who insists the CAA is doing all it can to prevent attacks at Leeds Bradford and every other airport in the country and has set up a working party to find solutions.
“The Civil Aviation Authority is also aware of this growing problem of incidents involving laser pointers,” Ms Villiers said.
“To help address this, they have initiated a press campaign and issued guidance to commercial air operators and air traffic control providers. The CAA is also co-ordinating a police policy for responding to laser incidents which are in progress.
“In addition, the CAA has established a working group to identify further initiatives to help counter the threat.
“While a ban on laser pointers may be the most effective solution, this is beyond the powers of the CAA and would affect legitimate users. Nevertheless, the working group intends to consider how steps can be taken to reduce the availability of laser pointers.”
Mr Mulholland said: “The increasing number of cases of planes being distracted by laser pointers is extremely concerning and I am pleased to see that the Government and the CAA are acting upon it.
“While it is an extremely serious matter, I do not agree that a blanket ban on laser pointers is the best way to combat this problem and would clearly penalise legitimate users.
“With the CAA working on further initiatives and the increased threat of successful prosecution, I hope we begin to see a decrease in the number of cases of aircraft being distracted by laser pointers.”