HC Deb 20 July 1938 vol 338 cc2191-3
61. Mr. Goldie

asked the Secretary of State for Air at what height aeroplanes carrying advertisement streamers are permitted to fly over the Metropolitan area; whether any restrictions exist as to the districts over which such aeroplanes are authorised so to fly; and whether, in view of the inconvenience caused by the noise of such aeroplanes, he will take steps to amend such regulations with a view to limiting such flying over the Metropolitan area to His Majesty's Air Force and to aeroplanes engaged on other than purely advertising exhibitions?

Captain Balfour

There is no height restriction peculiar to such aircraft, but, under the Air Navigation Order, they are prohibited, as are all aircraft flying over any city or town, from flying except at such altitude as would enable the aircraft to land outside the city or town should the means of propulsion fail. There are no restrictions as to the districts over which such aeroplanes may fly except that permission is required for flying over or in the immediate vicinity of places where crowds are assembled in the open air in connection with events of public interest. As regards the last part of the question, this matter is receiving careful consideration.

Mr. Goldie

Is the hon. and gallant Member aware that it is already an offence to use any balloon, parachute or other similar device for the purpose of advertisement on, over or above any house and, assuming that advertisement streamers come within the words "other similar device," will he take steps to see that the law is enforced?

Captain Balfour

I do not know whether legally an aeroplane comes within the definition of "balloon, parachute or other similar device." This matter is a difficult one. There are the aspects of safety and of amenities in question, and both must receive attention not only in respect of laying down regulations, but also in respect of the practicability of enforcing such regulations. But I would like to repeat that this matter is at present under the attention of my Department.

Mr. Rathbone

Have any prosecutions taken place under the regulations referred to?

Captain Balfour

My hon. Friend should put that question on the Paper.

Mr. Perkins

Has my hon. and gallant Friend not power to suspend these pilots' licences when they fly at a height of under 5,000 feet?

Captain Balfour

There is power of prosecution if it can be proved before the courts by the police that the law has been contravened, but there is no actual height laid down at which dangerous flying is not taking place or when it starts.