Southend Airport support licensing laser pointers (From Braintree and Witham Times)

A spokesman for Southend Airport has given their support to the government following the recent consideration to licence laser pens.

UK ministers are reviewing the idea of regulating the sale of laser pens so that people will now need a licence to buy them.

This is all part of a crackdown on the use of the devices, which are often shone at planes and are distracting and potentially life-threatening.

Figures according to the Civil Aviation Authority reveal that 1,258 incidents have occurred in the past year where pilots have had laser pens shone at them whilst they are flying.

Glyn Jones, the CEO of Stobart Aviation which owns and operates Southend Airport, showed his support for the plan

He said: “Laser attacks at LSA are rare but not to be taken lightly.

“The safety and security of our airline customers and passengers is our number one priority so we fully support the use of legal and, if necessary, licensing action to remove any threat to safe operations.”

The proposal to licence the tools came after two British tourists were slapped with fines for allegedly shining the lasers at aeroplanes in the Spanish city of Malaga.

Laser pointers are small devices which emit a narrow stream of light, the colour dependant on the type of pen you buy.

It is already an offence to shine the pointers at pilots, punishable with a fine of up to £2,500.

Pilots are the most frequently attacked by laser pens, but train drivers have also reported incidents involving the same offence.

According to British Transport Police, there were 466 incidents against trains between April 2011 and October 2016.

The business minister, Margot James, is launching an eight-week call for evidence into the pens.

However, the pens can be easily purchased so, like the way people needs licences to buy guns, a consideration into licensing the laser pointers has been made.

The proposal has also been welcomed by the Civil Aviation Authority.

A spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority told the Guardian: “Anyone convicted of shining a laser at an aircraft could face a significant fine or even imprisonment should the safety of an aircraft be endangered.

“While these laws are already in place, we believe strengthening legislation to restrict ownership of laser pens would help enhance efforts to tackle the issue.

“We strongly urge anyone who sees lasers being used in the vicinity of an airport to contact the police immediately.”


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