HC Deb 30 October 1957 vol 575 cc187-9
10. Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he is aware that the increasing power and numbers of civil aircraft are causing a nuisance to an increasing number of people who reside in the lines of flight from airports; and what progress is being made in the direction of silencing aircraft engines.

The Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. Harold Watkinson)

I am well aware that aircraft engine noise is a cause of disturbance to many people in the neighbourhood of airports, and I am anxious that everything should be done to reduce it. Some progress has been made; for example, the Comet IV when it comes into service will have noise reducers. Further work may lead to improved types of noise reducers, and also to the design of engines which have a lower output of noise in relation to the power developed. My Ministry will watch the situation very closely and will take the nuisance aspect very carefully into account.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

Can my right hon. Friend say whether he has power to enforce the use of these improvements as they are discovered, and can he enforce them in the case of foreign machines as well as in the case of British machines?

Mr. Watkinson

What I can say is that, before aircraft of this type have the unrestricted use of London Airport and other airports in this country, we shall want to be satisfied that the level of noise is not such as to cause an intolerable burden to the inhabitants who live around those airports.

15. Mr. Fenner Brockway

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what progress has been made in the provision of extended runways or by other means to reduce the noise of rising aircraft over residential areas to the west of London Airport, including Colnbrook and Langley.

Mr. Watkinson

Extension of runways is not a satisfactory method of reducing aircraft noise in areas west of London Airport. Better results have been obtained by arranging for aircraft to climb as quickly as possible after take-off and fly at higher altitudes over residential areas near the airport.

Mr. Brockway

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, when I raised this matter earlier, the Minister replied that the runways were being extended eastwards to deal with the problem? Will he consult his Parliamentary Private Secretary, who shares the representation of Colnbrook with me? Will he also remember that at Langley, in addition to the old village, there is a large L.C.C. estate and that life is becoming intolerable for those people because of the noise of aircraft?

Mr. Watkinson

My hon. Friend leaves me in no doubt of the views which he and his constituents hold on noise. The whole House will realise that this is a growing and very great burden for people who live around major airports. Nonetheless, improvement must come from technical improvements in aircraft, in silencing take off and so on, and not from longer runways.