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Borders: Personal Records

Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the likely effect on check-in times at airports of the introduction of the e-borders system. (290647)

[holding answer 9 September 2009]: E-Borders is already receiving data for inbound and outbound services from a diverse range of carriers, and has been, on a pilot basis, since January 2005.

The UK Border Agency considered the potential for delays at check-in when developing its ‘impact assessment’ in the provision of passenger, service and crew data, by carriers.

It concluded that the overall impact would be negligible. The growing trend within the industry is towards the sale of tickets and collection of data upstream, before the passenger arrives at the airport. The e-Borders system has been developed in consultation with the industry to cater for this trend.

The advance submission of TDI enables carriers to consider the options for the collection of the information that suits their business models and that will not extend check in times.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the effects on ferry passengers of the implementation of his Department's e-borders system. (290648)

[holding answer 9 September 2009]: The operational model for ferry traffic presents unique challenges in all locations. In recognition of this, we have focused on aviation in the first phase of the e-Borders rollout, to allow ferry operators time to prepare for implementation. We have established a Maritime Carrier Connectivity Working Group to examine cross cutting issues, as we have done with the aviation industry and we will continue to progress implementation with individual carriers via one-to-one meetings.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what pilot programmes his Department conducted in respect of the e-borders system; and what assessment was made of each such programme. (290649)

[holding answer 9 September 2009]: Project Semaphore was launched in November 2004 and was commissioned to run for 39 months to provide an operational prototype to trial e-Borders concepts and technology in order to inform and de-risk the e-Borders solution.

Project Semaphore demonstrated the value that advance passenger information adds to safety and security. This enables the UK authorities to intervene in a timely and proportionate manner, where an individual is identified as posing a risk. The Semaphore system captured data on over 53 million passenger movements from January 2005 to April 2008. Semaphore delivered significant successes to all border agencies, generating over 22,000 operational alerts resulting in over 1,700 arrests and other interventions in addition to significant counter terrorism benefits.

The Semaphore legacy system was transferred to operational business in April 2008 and is now managed by the e-Borders service provider, Trusted Borders and forms a key initial part of the main e-Borders’ solution.

Project IRIS, a pilot biometric automated barrier entry system for pre-registered passengers at selected ports in the UK. It was piloted from June 2005 to May 2006. IRIS enrolment stations and gates are available at all five Heathrow terminals and at Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham airports.

IRIS was transferred to the operational business in July 2007. As of August 2009, over 326,000 persons are enrolled on the system, generating over 2 million crossings.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his most recent estimate is of the cost to (a) the airline industry and (b) airline passengers of the implementation of his Department's e-borders system. (290693)

[holding answer 9 September 2009]: The potential financial costs to the aviation industry of implementing the data collection requirements of the e-Borders Programme were analysed as part of a regulatory impact assessment published in January 2008.

It will be a commercial decision for the carriers as to whether they pass this cost on to the passengers.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much his Department had spent on its e-borders project on 1 July 2009; and if he will make a statement. (290906)

[holding answer 9 September 2009]: The gross cost to Government of e-Borders. not including fee income, for the period from the start of the procurement phase (September 2005) through to 1 July 2009, was £300 million.