Call for greater action against dangerous laser pens

Laser pen being offered on EBay for less than £10.
Laser pen being offered on EBay for less than £10.

A SECOND NORTH MSP has been highlighting the dangers of laser pens to aircraft operating over Moray and throughout the Highlands.

Earlier this year John Finnie MSP sought an urgent review into the law and called on the Justice Secretary to take heed of the “horrific potential consequences” of people pointing laser pens at aircraft.

Now another Highlands and Islands (including Moray) MSP, David Stewart, has become involved in an attempt to persuade authorities to do more to address the issue.

Mr Stewart has written to the Department of Transport seeking clarity on the date of a final report that is being commissioned by the UK Laser Working Group (UKLWG).

Both MSP’s have been concerned since a laser pen was used in the Merkinch area of Inverness – and with so much flying, both commercial and military, over Moray they remain concerned that little is being done to deal with the issue.

David Stewart said: “Previously I wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson, in relation to this issue.

“In his response to me he said that the Scottish Government takes very seriously any actions which could potentially endanger aircraft and their crew and passengers.

“He added that the Scottish Government strongly support the Civil Aviation Authority’s efforts to publicise the dangers as well as the efforts of Police Scotland and COPFS to ensure those who maliciously direct lasers at aircraft are prosecuted.

“Ultimately this is a matter for the UK Government as the law governing this particular issue has not been devolved. Since I first became involved I have learned that a Working Group has been set up to look at the whole issue surrounding the misuse of laser pens and the dangers posed to aircraft.

“As these incidents are becoming more and more prevalent I want to know when we are likely to get sight of the UKLWG recommendations in order that the pilots, their Union and the public can be reassured that positive actions has or is being taken.”

A brief check by insideMoray this week revealed dozens of Laser Pens freely available on auction sites such as EBay billed as ‘high powered’ for less than £10 each.