HC Deb 17 June 1953 vol 516 cc944-6
2. Mr. R. Harris

asked the Minister of Civil Aviation if he will give orders to the management of London Airport that the loudspeakers in the public enclosure at London Airport are to be used as little as possible, that music and singing are to cease altogether, that the number of announcements is to be reduced to a minimum and that the volume be toned down to a level at which it will not cause a nuisance to local residents.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Mr. John Profumo)

Arrangements have already been made for the noise from loudspeakers in the public enclosure at London Airport to be kept at a level which should not cause a nuisance to the local residents. In these circumstances, I would not propose to change the purposes for which the equipment is used.

Mr. Beswick

Is not the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there is a Consultative Committee which is supposed to consider these matters? Can he say whether this matter has been brought before it and whether it has discussed it?

Mr. Profumo

The hon. Gentleman knows the answer to that, because when he held my present office he went into this matter very carefully at that time, but whether he took the advice of the Consultative Committee or not I do not know. Since that time we have had only one representation made, and that was when we were testing equipment this year. I take it that everybody is now satisfied.

3. Mr. R. Harris

asked the Minister of Civil Aviation whether he can yet make public any reports on the efficiency of the acoustic walls at London Airport; whether he is satisfied with the results of the experiments; and what further steps are being taken to reduce or eliminate the noise of aircraft engines being serviced or run-up at night.

Mr. Profumo

So far, we have been able to experiment only with light aircraft, and the results have been promising, but it is early to form a clear conclusion. We shall be experimenting with larger and noisier aircraft in the near future. In the meantime, all operators at London Airport have been requested, and have willingly agreed, not to run aircraft engines at night without urgent operational need.

4. Mr. R. Harris

asked the Minister of Civil Aviation if he will take immediate steps to stop pleasure aircraft from operating from London Airport in view of the inconvenience caused to local residents by the additional noise, which is particularly aggravating on Sundays.

Mr. Profumo

All possible steps have been taken to ensure that pleasure flights do not pass unnecessarily over populated areas near London Airport, and these arrangements will continue. Pleasure (lying is one of the most popular attractions among visitors at the Airport, and I could not agree to it being stopped altogether.

Mr. Harris

Will the Minister bear in mind that to have pleasure aircraft flying from London Airport is simply adding insult to injury to a neighbourhood which has suffered very severely from loss of amenity because of the very large aircraft which fly to and from London Airport? Would it not be possible for pleasure flying to be done from aerodromes in the country nowhere near built-up areas?

Mr. Profumo

I very much sympathise with my hon. Friend in the difficulties which his constituents have in regard to noise and disturbance from London Airport, but the point is that there is pleasure flying from other aerodromes as well. Here, we have a public enclosure, and this is one of the most pleasurable things for people who go into that enclosure. In addition, it encourages air-mindedness. and makes a useful contribution towards the cost of operating the airport. I cannot add anything to the answer I have given.

Mr. Beresford Craddock

Will my hon. Friend consider this matter again, because the noise which is caused day and night to my constituents by London Airport is simply appalling? Why cannot he go there occasionally and listen to it, when I am sure he would agree with the views expressed by my hon. Friend and myself?

Mr. Profumo

It is not because I have not been there a great deal. I am well aware of the difficulties at London Airport, but my right hon. Friend is responsible for the whole field of civil aviation. If there have been any difficulties which cause problems to local residents from the point of view of pleasure flying, I will gladly look into any particular case, but I am not in a position to say that I can stop pleasure flying altogether.