The managing director of Flying TV has hit out at government plans for a month-long no-fly zone over London during the Olympic games.
Light aircraft will be banned from flying over the capital from July 14 as part of the government’s attempts to create a “known aviation environment” during the games.
Former Radio 1 breakfast show presenter Mike Smith, who founded Flying TV in 2004, said the restrictions could cost his business upwards of £80,000.
Flying TV provides aerial coverage of sporting events such as the Grand National and footage for programmes including Red or Black? and X Factor.
An area stretching from Maidenhead to Upminster and from Epping to Chobham will be off-limits for all except commercial airlines, security and emergency services and the Olympic Broadcast Service.
Smith said pilots had been warned they could be shot down if they stray into restricted or prohibited airspace.
“That’s charming isn’t it,” said Smith. “Taxpayers killed by their own services. What the hell has happened to the UK? When did the coup happen? Did I miss it?”
Flying TV’s attempts to secure exemptions to the “draconian” rules have so far been unsuccessful.
“It has taken the Department for Trade and Industry 18 months to write to us. We see this as a tactical move to crush any protest.
“We are not eligible for compensation by the Olympics because the restrictions are ruled as ‘national security’ and LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) has denied any compensation claims.
Arena Aviation, which supplies aircraft for use by Sky News and BBC News, said the restrictions would impact some of its trips but others would be permitted as part of the OBS coverage.
“What I would like is for exemptions to be considered on a case-by-case basis, but I’m not hopeful of any kind of climb down,” added Smith.
“The country is run by bureaucrats; I have a loathing for the faceless pen-pushers and spooks who have created this entire scenario.”