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Airports: Body Scanners

Volume 718: debated on Monday 29 March 2010


On 1 February, I announced the initial deployment of security scanners at Heathrow and Manchester Airports. This was part of a package of measures announced as a direct response to the attempted attack on Northwest flight 253 to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. The device used on that flight had clearly been constructed with the aim of making detection by existing screening methods extremely difficult.

The safety of the travelling public is my highest priority and security scanners are a vital additional tool which give airport security staff a much better chance of detecting explosives or other potentially harmful items hidden on a passenger’s body.

At the same time that I announced the initial deployment of security scanners I published an interim code of practice to reflect concerns about privacy, health and safety, equality and data protection and announced our intention to consult on it.

Today we are in a position to begin that consultation. This provides an opportunity to influence the final code of practice. We will consider all representations carefully, and this consultation will run until 21 June 2010.

We will inform stakeholders that the consultation paper has been published today. Copies of the consultation paper are available on the Department for Transport’s website at and copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.