London, June 24 : An anti-terror expert of the British Government has warned of the possibility of terrorists using private jets and light aircraft to launch attacks on crowds and buildings in Britain.
According to Lord Carlile of Berriew, the presence of an estimated 8,500 private aircraft and up to 500 "landing sites" in Britain, ranging from farmers' fields to regional airports, makes the possibility of such attacks taking place "relatively simple".
The Telegraph further quoted him as saying that the thousands of small, rented planes capable of travelling at high speeds between EU countries and the UK should be subjected to far stricter checks.
The warning, contained in a 60-page report, will prompt fears that Britain has been left open to a terrorist attack similar to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington DC.
It comes as:
Lord Carlile raised the prospect of taking the IRA off a Government list of banned organisations because it had "dwindled to almost or actually nothing";
Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, disclosed plans to create a 3,000-strong border police force;
Lord Carlile said he had raised concerns with Internet search engine Google over the availability of terror-related material on the worldwide web;
The European Court of Human Rights announced it would investigate the Government's plans to hold terror suspects for up to 42 days;
The Government announced it is to build a specialist detention centre for terror suspects
Lord Carlile also said he was concerned about the thoroughness of checks that were made on planes and executive jets which fly into and out of British airspace every day.
He said he was concerned because security was lax or non-existent in many of them.
Replying to Lord Carlile's report, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she "noted your flagging of the potential for small aircraft to be used as vehicle bombs and your observation that there is no intelligence to suggest this forms part of terrorist thinking".