HC Deb 19 March 2001 vol 365 c26W
Dr. Starkey

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will introduce alcohol and drug testing for aviation personnel; and if he will make a statement.[154540]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth

The Queen's speech on 6 December announced the Government's intention to draft a Safety Bill. We will use this opportunity to introduce a prescribed blood/alcohol limit for safety critical personnel in aviation, and to take permissive powers to allow testing for drugs.

We propose to set a 20 milligram per 100 millilitre blood/alcohol limit for aircraft crew, air traffic controllers and aircraft maintenance engineers, while also granting to the police the necessary powers to test suspected offenders. This limit is in line with an agreed Joint Aviation Requirement for aircrew and will apply equally to safety critical aviation personnel in the commercial and leisure sectors, and to those people flying or working with aircraft in their free time. It also reflects the positive responses to a Government consultation paper issued in July 1996, which proposed this limit.

It will continue to be a criminal offence to be engaged in an aviation related activity while unfit though the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is our belief that these proposals will further enhance safety in our skies.