UK airports are to start charging passengers at least £5 if they want to avoid lengthy queues at passport control, according to media reports.

Under a new scheme reportedly due to be rolled out by the government, fees ranging from £5 to £20 could be introduced in airports across the country to allow people to skip long waits, if a similar scheme at Edinburgh Airport is successful.

The new charge will be on top of existing time-saving charges, such as priority boarding and check-in.

It could mean that those who do not pay the £5 for the premium service could wait even longer in the regular queue as staff are diverted to the new section, reports The Sunday People.

Travel Counsellors founder and former chairman David Speakman described the move as a “disgraceful abuse of travellers” on Twitter.

A spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services Union told the Sunday People: “This is a ridiculous idea that exposes just how understaffed our borders are. What happens if everyone opts to pay £5? We’re back to square one.”