HC Deb 28 November 1951 vol 494 cc1489-90
8. Mr. P. W. Donner

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how much has been spent on Greenham Common Aerodrome up to 26th October.

Mr. Birch

Up to the end of October, 1951, the Air Ministry had incurred expenditure amounting to about £157,000 on the present reconstruction project.

9. Mr. Donner

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether the nature of the sub-soil at Greenham Common Aerodrome enables it to be used by heavy bombers for which it was designed and built; and whether or not it is proposed to use this airfield for this particular purpose.

Mr. Birch

It is intended to use the airfield now being built at Greenham Common for the medium bomber squadrons for which it was designed.

Mr. Donner

Is it not a fact that when the decision was taken to build this airfield by the late Government, after a Cabinet discussion, not a single Minister insisted on an investigation to ascertain whether the site was suitable for this aerodrome—for the whole of it and not merely for a part of it?

Mr. Birch

There has been no subsidence in the runway. There has been some subsidence in the standings and taxi-runs. I think that it is too great an assumption to suppose that a big error has been made. There may have to be certain realignments of the subsidiary parts of the airfield, but I think that the main runway will be all right.

Mr. Anthony Hurd

Can the Minister assure the House that a further review is now being made of the suitability of this site, and that he does consider that, in the end, it may be possible to make a satisfactory airfield for bombers of that type?

Mr. Birch

The matter is now under the most careful consideration, and, as at present advised, I think that it will be possible to provide a suitable airfield for the bombers for which it was designed.

Mr. Hurd

When will there be a final decision?

Mr. Birch

There is no question of holding up the work. There is no evidence to suppose that the airfield cannot be used.