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

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments
  • justejudexultionis

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