HC Deb 05 November 1947 vol 443 cc1808-10
13. Mr. Geoffrey Cooper

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, what decisions have been taken as a result of the report made by the Pakenham Committee which investigated suitable flyingboat alighting areas in this country.

17. Air-Commodore Harvey

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what is the Government's intention regarding the future civil flyingboat base following the recommendations of the Pakenham Report.

Mr. Lindgren

Since the rejection, on grounds of defence, of the Langstone Harbour site, which was the first choice of the Pakenham Committee, investigation of alternatives has been proceeding, but no decision has yet been taken.

Mr. Cooper

Has the major policy decision yet been taken as to whether or not the flyingboat has an essential function to fulfil in civil airlines development for the future, and, if so, is Admiralty obstruction to be allowed to upset the Pakenham Committee recommendations for the development of the flyingboat base at Langstone Harbour?

Mr. Lindgren

As far as the first part of the Question is concerned, matters are exactly the same now as they always have been. In regard to the latter part of the Question, the decision was taken as a matter of national defence by the Defence Committee.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Is it not a fact that Langstone Harbour was always regarded as the most suitable base? Will the hon. Gentleman take this up with the Admiralty, and put a stop to the nonsense that is talked to the effect that it cannot be used—it can be seen from the North Downs?

Mr. Lindgren

This is a matter of defence, and has been dealt with by the Defence Committee. Statements made in the House today will be brought to the notice of those concerned.

Major Bruce

Will my hon. Friend specify what the defence grounds are?

Mr. Lindgren

No, they are not available to me.

Mr. George Ward

Is it not a fact that an order for the new Short flyingboat has been cancelled?

Mr. Lindgren

No, Sir. That is not a fact.