Controversial full-body security scanners will continue to be used at Manchester Airport despite their use being halted in Europe over health fears.
Manchester is now the only airport in the UK to use this certain kind of full-body scanner although a different type, which has been deemed safe for permanent use, is currently in use at Heathrow.
Assessments are to be carried out by the European Commission after health experts flagged up a possibility of radioactive risks in connection with the machines.
The scanners use a low dose of radiation as an x-ray does to reveal a ‘naked’ ghostly image of passengers.
Some European health experts have hit out against the use of the scanners because they say that x-ray equipment should only be used for medical reasons.
The UK Health Agency has already done the same tests that the European Commission are doing, as have America.
Russell Craig, a spokesman for Manchester Airport, said: “We have no reason to think that come March, Europe won’t say anything different.”
As long as they are deemed safe by the European Commission then Manchester will continue to trial them.
A spokesman for the UK Health Protection Agency said: “Neither the HPA position, nor the science underpinning it, has changed in the light of recent European announcements.”
Passengers cannot decide whether they would rather be frisked instead of going through the machines however, this is not an airport rule but a Government one.
“It is our decision to have body scanners because it’s more efficient but it’s the government’s decision to have the ‘no scan, no fly’ rule,” said Mr Craig.
The advice remains that radiation from x-ray security scanners should not be seen as a barrier to air travel.
Frequent flyer, Darren Muir, said: “I wouldn’t necessarily want to go through machines like that if it’s not needed.”
Manchester is trialling 16 machines which cost £80,000 each as part of the project since 2009.
Mr Craig explained that an intimate frisk takes around two and a half minutes and a body scanner can do that in 30 seconds.
Health fears have been discussed for more than ten years when prototype machines were evaluated by a panel of safety experts.
The Commission will make a final decision after a safety report next year.