Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by The Airport Operators Association (F9)

  1.  The Airport Operators Association (AOA) is the trade body that represents and speaks for Britain's airports and draws its membership from the nation's international hub airports, all of the major regional airports and a significant number of those providing facilities for business, training and leisure aviation. A full listing of AOA member airports is attached at Annex 1.

  2.  AOA fully supports the government's principal objective of seeking to prevent the illegal importation of meat and food products into the UK as a means of limiting the risk of disease. The government's action plan appears to offer a sound basis for implementation of the necessary controls, though it is important that the main action is focused onto those areas where the risk to public health is the greatest; this may not be at airports. However, we believe that the action plan could be improved by fundamentally addressing the key issue of the way in which UK border controls are organised.

  3.  The essential issue which the government is addressing in its action plan is one protecting public health through the implementation of effective border control. In this respect, AOA would reiterate the need for government to seriously consider the establishment of a single border control agency. This proposal was contained in AOA's evidence to the Home Affairs Committee's inquiry into Border Controls in 2000 and in its subsequent report the Committee recommended adoption of this general approach (Report HCP 163-I).

  4.  While the government's action plan proposes "more co-operation to achieve effective inter-agency enforcement" it would appear to stop some way short of advocating the creation of a single border control force. AOA believes that the creation of a single border control force encompassing HM Customs, Immigration, Special Branch, Port Health and possibly Transport Security could have significant advantages including:

    —  The development of an intelligence based approach to detection;

    —  Greater sharing of intelligence between agencies;

    —  Combination of operational databases across the various agencies;

    —  Greater co-ordination of operational activities;

    —  Improved border control.

  5.  In respect of the personal importation of illegal foodstuffs several of our members have questioned the practicability of "amnesty" or "sins" bins located in Customs Halls. While they recognise that the rationale behind these proposals is to encourage the surrender of unintended illegal imports, there are practical issues relating to the collection and disposal of goods surrendered. AOA does not support direct involvement of airports in these processes and it should be an issue for the appropriate border agency, Customs or Port Health, to make the necessary arrangements for collection and disposal.

  6.  AOA also notes that the government's proposals include provision for examining the potential benefits of using X-ray equipment to scan containers and personal baggage to detect illegal imports. Airports would be prepared to work with government in the development of such proposals but initial thoughts are that the introduction of X-ray equipment for baggage arriving in the UK could have implications for airport baggage arrival design assuming that such equipment was located at a point before baggage was reclaimed by the passenger and subsequently presented in the Customs Hall.

  7.  AOA believes that a more effective form of control might well come from adopting the approach taken by HM Customs, which relies largely on applying upstream intelligence to target the highest risks.

  8.  AOA trusts these views and observations will prove helpful.

Keith Jowett

Chief Executive

17 May 2002

Annex 1




    Aberdeen Airport

    Edinburgh Airport

    Glasgow International Airport

    Heathrow London Airport

    London Gatwick Airport

    London Stansted Airport

    Southampton Airport

  Belfast City Airport

  Birmingham International Airport

  Blackbushe Airport

  Blackpool Airport

  Bristol Filton Airfield

  Bristol International Airport

  Cambridge Airport

  Carlisle Airport

  Chester Hawarden Airport

  Chichester Goodwood Aerodrome

  City of Derry Airport

  Coventry Airport

  Denham Airport

  Dundee Airport

  Elstree Aerodrome

  Exeter International Airport

  Fairoaks Airport

  Farnborough Airport

  Glasgow Prestwick International Airport

  Gloucestershire Airport

  Guernsey Airport

Highlands & Islands

    Barra Airport

    Benbecula Airport

    Campbeltown Airport

    Kirkwall Airport

    Inverness Airport

    Islay Airport

    Stornaway Airport

    Sumburgh Airport

    Tiree Airport

    Wick Airport

  Isle of Man Airport

  Jersey Airport

  Leeds Bradford International Airport

  London Battersea/Metro Heliport

  London City Airport

  London Manston Airport

  Lydd Airport

Manchester Airport Group

    Bournemouth Int'l Airport

    East Midlands Airport

    Humberside International Airport

    Manchester Airport

  Manchester Barton Aerodrome

  Newcastle Airport

  North Denes Aerodrome Ltd

  Norwich International Airport

  Oxford Airport

Peel Airports Ltd

    Liverpool John Lennon Airport

    Sheffield City Airport

  Peterborough Business Airport

  Redhill Aerodrome

Regional Airports

    London Biggin Hill Airport

    London Southend Airport

  Retford (Gamston) Airport

  Scottish Airports Ltd

  Shoreham Airport

  Swansea Airport

  Sywell Aerodrome


    Belfast International Airport

    Cardiff International Airport

    London Luton Airport

  Teeside International Airport

  Thruxton Aerodrome

  Warton Aerodrome

  Wolverhampton Business Airport

  Wycombe Air Park


previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 23 July 2002