e-Borders “likely to be illegal”, MPs warn

Future of Government's £1.2bn scheme thrown into doubt by Home Affairs Select Committee report

The Government’s new e-Borders scheme is “likely to be illegal under the EU Treaty”, the Home Affairs Select Committee reported today.

The £1.2bn scheme is designed to digitally log every single passenger movement into and out of the country and would have required each traveller to hand over detailed personal information to the UK Border Agency and private carriers.

For boaters, it would have meant informing the Government in advance of any plans to travel outside UK waters or return to the UK.

Original plans had been to include boaters in the scheme sometime between 2011 and 2014, but now the future of the entire scheme is in doubt.

Early reports suggest the Government has caved to European pressure by agreeing that people will no longer have to submit personal information when they travel.

Gus Lewis, head of government affairs at the RYA, said, “Although the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry was primarily aimed at commercial carriers, we submitted formal written evidence to the committee in August 2009 on behalf of recreational boaters.

“We are pleased that the committee has acknowledged a number of flaws in the e-Borders programme and we will continue to challenge the Government’s proposals for implementing the e-Borders programme in the recreational boating sector.

“It remains to be seen how the Government will respond to the committee’s report but, if the reports in the national media are correct, the future of the e-Borders programme in its current form must be in doubt.”


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