The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is said to have blocked public access to documents which reveal a number of strange sightings to impede their “curiosity”.
The CAA has been using European law from 2014 to block access to the public records of sightings or incidents between 2011 and 2017, the Sun reports.
The law reportedly states: “Occurrence information can only be used for the purpose of maintaining or improving aviation safety, and the release of occurrence information to the general public or the media, including in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requests, is not permitted.
“However, if you require occurrence information for the purpose of maintaining or improving aviation safety you are able to make an application to the CAA.”
Although the EU protests that the information is accessible via application, a university professor suggests otherwise.
Dr David Clarke of Sheffield Hallam University was previously granted access to the files.
But was shocked when his FOI requested was refused earlier this year.He told the Sun Online: “These have been collected and logged by the CAA since at least 1976.“For many years the CAA has released this information under FOI without any evidence that commercial secrets or safety have been harmed or compromised.“Indeed in 2012 the chief executive of Britain’s National Air Traffic Control Services, Richard Deakin, admitted in a BBC Radio 4 interview that his agency received reports of UFOs from civil aircrew somewhere in the world every month.“But then they seem surprised that curious individuals might want to see details of these incidents using Open Government legislation.”Now they are using a piece of European Regulation to block public access to these records.”The only conceivable reason for this change of policy is embarrassment on the part of the aviation industry. It does not want to admit that its pilots do occasionally report things in the sky that are difficult to explain.