COMMONS

EU land transport security proposals need better focus

22 March 2013

The Transport Committee publishes 'Land transport security – scope for further EU involvement?', its report of a short inquiry that reviewed a European Commission working document looking at options for EU-wide measures to improve land transport security.

  • Report: Land transport security – scope for further EU involvement?
  • Report: Land transport security – scope for further EU involvement? (PDF 1.00 MB)
  • Inquiry: Land Transport Security
  • Transport Committee
  • The European Commission already sets legislation in relation to safety in the maritime and aviation sectors and in relation to the transport of dangerous goods. The Commission is now considering whether it should become more involved in security relating to land transport, involving road and rail.

    From evidence gathered for this inquiry MPs conclude the current risk-based approach to land transport security operating in the UK is working well. Security measures deployed across UK transport modes are considered to be proportionate to the current threats faced by any given sector.

    But the Committee warns the Department for Transport that it must ensure that weaknesses in the UK's current land transport security regime are addressed at the appropriate level.

    These include:

    • The need for the accurate identification of threats to make a risk based approach work.
    • Action to improve security procedures at multi-modal transport hubs (where different threat levels apply to different transport modes) including railway stations at airports.
    • Completing a review of the mandatory and best practice standards for training in the National Railway Security Programme to ensure all rail sector staff have a consistent level of training and an understanding of potential threats, risks, preventative measures and incident management. 
    • Greater effort to develop and maintain a higher level of both staff and public vigilance.
    • Addressing the complexity of differing security requirements between different countries within the EU.

    The Committee calls on the UK Government to seek further information from the European Commission and report back to it on the exact nature of potential legislative changes to impose common EU-wide security standards across the rail network. The UK Government should participate actively in discussions.

    MPs call on the UK Government to acknowledge the valuable work done by TruckPol in combating crime and to work with industry to ensure that the successor system is fit for purpose. The Government should also work with representatives from the road haulage and distribution sector to identify and overcome barriers to the provision of secure lorry parking sites. 

    An advisory group on land transport security has been established and should undertake further work to determine what action may be required to encourage, among other things, the development of new security equipment.

    The Committee also recommends that the European Scrutiny Committee keep the House of Commons alerted to any future proposals with a view to recommending a debate.

    Chair's comments

    Launching the report, Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the Transport Committee said:

    "Security is vital and it is essential that we constantly review the most effective means of keeping people safe and combating crime.

    The Commission's document covers a wide range of situations ranging from terrorism to relatively minor criminal activity.

    It would have been better to focus on specific areas of concern.

    Neither industry nor government showed enthusiasm for greater EU involvement. But it is important for the Government to push for greater action at a national level to address problem areas including the co-ordination of security measures at EU borders."

    Background

    The European Commission's staff working document on transport security is available online:

    Further information

    Image: iStockphoto

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