Opinions on Russian rule-bending; and more comments on 8.33 radios
The Channel Islands, being a Crown Dependency and within the Common Travel Area (CTA), are free from immigration controls for British citizens. When I fly into Guernsey from France or the UK I am required by the Guernsey Border Agency to complete a simple form on arrival. However when I fly from Guernsey to a UK Certificate of Agreement airfield I am required to provide a minimum of twelve hours’ notice. If I fly from Guernsey to Dinard then no notice is required and minimal notice to many others. If I fly from France to the UK I simply complete a GAR with four hours’ notice and can land anywhere.
I have flown in and out of the Channel Islands more than 25 times and never ever have I been met by anyone from (previously) Special Branch or (now) the Border Agency. The GAR, I quote, ‘helps Border Force and the Police in securing the UK border and preventing crime and terrorism’; which is fine, but why do we need to provide twelve hours’ notice when coming from a Crown Dependency which is part of the CTA? The conclusion must be that Guernsey is a greater threat than France! As for smuggling gold bars and wedges of cash, there are a lot easier ways of doing this than in a light aircraft. Drugs and illegal immigrants would also be fairly impractical as they have to get into Guernsey in the first place.
For a pilot, twelve hours advance notice is mainly guesswork as the vagaries of the Channel Islands’ local weather make it hard to predict a precise arrival time. It is easy to delay a flight plan and quite honestly not worth the effort of informing UK Border Agency of a delay as: a) they are never likely to show up anyway; b) there is no easy way to do this; and c) in the unlikely event that someone was going to show up I would expect them to phone the designated arrival airfield to establish an ETA.
Perhaps the Border Agency would like to respond with wholly logical (not waffle) reasons for this huge discrepancy and what everyone considers to be a downright stupid regulation. Paragraph 12, Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 needs amendment, so if any of our worthy flying MPS are reading this, will they please facilitate this? David Vale, Burton on Trent