HC Deb 04 August 1965 vol 717 cc1679-80
19. Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

asked the Minister of Aviation what height checks on aircraft approaching London Airport have been carried out by or under the instructions of his Department; whether such checks have extended to areas such as Hendon; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

Aircraft on the last seven miles of their approach to Heathrow are subjected to random checks by precision approach radar. During the last three months less than 0.4 per cent. of the aircraft checked came below the 3 degree glide path.

When more than seven miles from Heathrow pilots are instructed to maintain a height of not less than 2,000 ft. The checks mentioned do not extend as far as Hendon but I am considering instituting wider checks in the near future.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

Will the Minister bear in mind that low-flying aircraft cause an intolerable nuisance in areas such as Hendon? Will he pursue his efforts in this direction with the utmost determination?

Mr. Jenkins

Yes, indeed. I will bear this point in mind. I have instituted special discussions during the summer for I, and I think many other Members, have been worried about the degree of noise over central London, and I hope to make sure that the regulations are observed.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

How many aircraft is 0.4 per cent.? The Minister told us that the figure was 0.4 per cent. without telling us the value of 100 per cent. Unless we are told the value of 100 per cent., his information is meaningless.

Mr. Jenkins

I do not think that without notice I could give the total number of movements into London Airport over the period, but 0.4 per cent. is clearly one in 200 of the very substantial number of aircraft approaching London Airport.

Sir Rolf Dudley Williams

Will the Minister look into this matter? For instance, will he look into the fact that two aeroplanes were flying over Westminster this morning at considerably less than 2,000 ft.? I think that this is becoming quite intolerable.

Mr. Jenkins

I am giving very close attention to this matter. With the expertise of a layman, I have occasionally thought that planes were flying lower than they should have been at the entrance to the glide path. I have had this checked It occurs occasionally but only very infrequently.