Land trasport security - scope for further EU involvement? - Transport Committee Contents


1  Introduction

1.  Land transport security measures seek to prevent acts of unlawful interference against passengers, freight or transport infrastructure in the road and rail sectors. Unlawful interference includes anything from terrorism to relatively minor crime against passengers and transport operators. While there are EU legislative requirements in the aviation and maritime security sectors, this is not the case with land-based transport.

2.  The European Commission's 2011 White Paper, Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system, places transport security high on the EU's agenda and describes "a need to find an appropriate European approach to land transport security in those areas where EU action has an added value".[1] As a first step, the Commission's White Paper recommended setting up a permanent expert group on land transport security.[2] This group was established by a Commission Decision on 31 May 2012.[3] At the same time the Commission published a staff working document on transport security, which provided an overview of potential areas for the development of EU land transport security policies.[4] While the Commission has not brought forward any legislative proposals in this document, it has suggested areas of consideration, which might lead to recommendations for legislation at a later stage.

3.  The Government has already expressed reservations to our colleagues on the European Scrutiny Committee about the need for the sorts of EU activity on land transport security proposed in the Commission's document. The European Scrutiny Committee shared the Government's concerns about possible subsidiarity issues and asked us for a formal Opinion on the Commission's document. The Committee further suggested that "the views of both the Government and the industry, as to what might be acceptable at EU-level be sought".[5] We published a call for evidence on 1 November 2012 seeking views. We received 10 written submissions and heard oral evidence on 21 January 2013. We are grateful to those who provided oral and written evidence.

4.  In this report we assess the current land transport security arrangements in the UK and reaction to the Commission's staff working document. We also seek to answer the question of what further EU involvement in land transport security might be desirable. Our conclusions on this matter form the basis of our Opinion to the European Scrutiny Committee and we hope that this report will inform future discussions on land transport security in the House of Commons. While we have focussed on the UK perspective on land transport security we intend to pursue this subject further, in the first instance with representatives of the European Commission during our upcoming visit to Brussels.


1   European Commission, Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system, March 2011, para 38 Back

2   European Commission, Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system, March 2011, Annex 1 Back

3   European Commission Decision of 31 May 2012 on the creation of an Expert Group on Land Transport Security (2012/286/EU) Back

4   European Commission, Staff Working Document on Transport Security, 31 May 2012, (SWD(2012) 143 final) Back

5   European Scrutiny Committee, Eighth Report of Session 2012-13, HC 86-viii, para 6.8 Back


 
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Prepared 22 March 2013