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


4  Conclusion

Our Opinion to the European Scrutiny Committee

34.  Overall, the tone of both industry's and the Government's response to the Commission's proposals can be summarised as a distinct lack of enthusiasm for further EU involvement in relation to land transport security. The majority of organisations that responded to our call for evidence called for better sharing of information and good practice across the EU, rather than use of the "blunt tool" of EU legislation.[74] The issues raised in the Commission's document are significant and deserve proper consideration in the House of Commons if, and when, more detailed proposals come forward. We do not consider that a debate in a European Committee would be appropriate at this stage because of the lack of detail in the proposals as they stand. However, given the industry's strong disinclination towards EU legislation in this area, we recommend that the European Scrutiny Committee keep abreast of, and alert the House to, any further proposals as they arise from the Commission, with a view to recommending them for debate.

Principal conclusions for Government

35.  It was recognised that many of the issues raised in the Commission's document overlap with weaknesses identified in the UK's current land transport security regime. We encourage Government to participate actively in the Member States' Advisory Group on land transport security. Through this forum the Government should provide input into further discussions on EU proposals in this area. The Government is already alert to the potential that action at the EU-level might result in levelling down existing security measures and it should steer discussion towards an approach more appropriate to UK land-based transport sectors. Furthermore, the DfT should note the concerns about current weaknesses in the land transport security regime identified in this report and ensure that these are addressed at the appropriate level. We recommend that the Government provide us with an update in its response to us, and again 12 months from now, on the Commission's emerging proposals, including the work of the advisory groups on land transport security, Government's contribution to the development of these proposals, and its view on the proposals as they stand.

36.  Finally we note that the Commission's document covers an enormous range of issues, from counter-terrorism to relatively minor crime. There is a risk that in conflating such a wide range of security issues the Commission's thinking on how to deal with those issues will lack focus. We urge the Government, through its participation in the Member States' Advisory Group, to ensure that future EU land transport security proposals are more focussed and that a broad range of security issues, which each require distinct responses from Government, are not unnecessarily conflated. Government should also ensure that appropriate measures are brought forward to deal with these differing types of security challenges.


74   Ev 21, para 9 [Rail Freight Group]; Ev 28, para 27 [Department for Transport]; Ev w2 [British Transport Police]; Ev 22, para 3.4 [Association of Train Operating Companies and Network Rail]; and Ev 20 [Road Haulage Association] Back


 
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Prepared 22 March 2013