My Lords, the ban on passengers taking liquids on to commercial aircraft was lifted on 6 November 2006, following the introduction of European Union regulations applying across all member states. There remains a restriction on the quantities that passengers are permitted.
My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. No one doubts the need for a high level of aviation security. Does the Minister agree with his colleague, the Danish transport Minister, who has called for a,
“thorough evaluation, review and risk analysis of the current aviation security measures … so that [they] can be designed and implemented in a balanced and efficient way”?
The measures, which are secret and are not published—both the liquid ban and that on hand luggage—cause considerable inconvenience. Would it not be better if there was a review that was shared with parliamentary representatives, rather than us being asked to take on trust that they are the only way to properly ensure passenger safety? Might there not be other measures that are more proportionate and at least as effective?
My Lords, I understand why some passengers feel that they experience inconvenience when they go through the security protocols at airports, but we have to bear in mind the fact that the threat of terrorism is real and present. It is right that we should take the best advised measures. I ought also to put on record the fact that we continuously monitor the effectiveness of, in particular, the liquid security measures, as well as all the other measures that have been taken to ensure that security is at its tightest. The fact that there has not been a serious incident involving liquid explosives indicates, I would have thought, that the measures that we have put in place so far have been very effective.
My Lords, when did the Government last consider the effectiveness of the ban on passengers taking more than one piece of hand luggage on board commercial aircraft? That ban is particularly irksome to those passengers transferring internationally at UK airports and is commercially damaging to UK carriers.
My Lords, I can only assume that it was because the level of threat from a tube of toothpaste was considered rather less than that from a bottle of liquid. A friend of mine had two jars of Marmite confiscated, which I thought was a bit tough at the time, but these are the things that we have to put up with.
My Lords, does my noble friend agree that one of the best ways of avoiding the problems of security at airports is not to fly at all? Perhaps his department might discourage people from flying rather than encouraging them to get round the security problems.