The perils of planespotting

Plus: Who’s really a soft touch on asylum, and the toll of drug driving

7 March 2015

9:00 AM

7 March 2015

9:00 AM

A dangerous hobby

Three men from Greater Manchester were arrested and held in the UAE after being seen writing down the numbers of aircraft.
— Plane-spotting can be risky. In 2001 14 Britons were arrested in Greece after allegedly taking photos at an air base in Kalamata. Eight were sentenced to three years; imprisonment for spying and the other six were given suspended sentences. (All were overturned on appeal.)
— In 2010 two British men were arrested at Delhi airport after being seen taking photos of planes from a hotel room.
— Trainspotters have had problems too. In 2008 a 15-year-old boy was held under terror legislation after taking photographs of Wimbledon station for a school project.
— In 2009 a holidaymaker was raided at a campsite after being seen on CCTV photographing a shunting engine in Wales.

Who gets in?

Britain was reported to be spending £726,000 a day on bed and board for asylum-seekers. Is Britain a soft touch?

Applications decided in past 12 months
Canada 2,790
Germany 20,700
France 16,200
Sweden 9,810
Italy 9,410
UK 8,130
Netherlands 5,550

Source: Eurostat

Applications granted in past 12 months
Canada 8%
Germany 46%
France 20%
Sweden 78%
Italy 58%
UK 37%
Netherlands 77%

Source: Eurostat

Speeding and driving

New rules on drug-driving came into force. How big a problem is drug-driving? There were 1,037 driver fatalities on British roads in 2010. Samples of drug use were compiled in 219 cases. Here’s the breakdown:

Drug No. of cases
Cannabis 26
Opioids 15
Cocaine 10
Amphetamines 3

Starter homes

David Cameron promised to build 200,000 starter homes for first-time buyers at a 20% discount. How much does it cost to build a new home in Britain and other countries, and what percentage goes on preliminaries such as planning fees?

Cost per sq. m. (US$)
Germany 1,316
UK 1,646
Australia 1,500
Ireland 1,392
US 1,476
Canada 2,786

Source: Turner and Townsend

Germany 15%
UK 12%
Australia 12%
Ireland 10%
US 9%
Canada 8%

Source: Turner and Townsend

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  • justejudexultionis

    The fact is that our culture and infrastructure cannot take any more.