HC Deb 01 February 1967 vol 740 cc495-6
30. Mr. Fortescue

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is satisfied that the municipal ownership of city airports is in all cases in the best interest of the development of British aviation; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

Experience throughout the country indicates that the ownership of aerodromes by local authorities or consortia of local authorities has many advantages, and I can see no grounds, at present, for a change of policy in this respect.

Mr. Fortescue

In view of the fact that the facilities at many of our airports will have to be greatly improved to cater for the next generation of aircraft, may I ask whether the Minister would agree that the experience now being gathered all over the world by the British Airports Authority, which has sent delegates to every modern airport, should be made available on a formal basis to municipally-owned airports?

Mr. Mallalieu

I should think that that made sense.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the Minister aware that by putting pressure on the London Borough of Bromley to take over Biggin Hill Airport his Department has created serious difficulties for the users? They will have no security of tenure, and there will be further expense falling on the ratepayers, who will have to pay the bill for the report of the consultants now being commissioned by the borough.

Mr. Mallalieu

I know of no pressurising of the local authority. I know the immense difficulties of deciding between various users—the sort of difficulties that exist at Biggin Hill. I shall go down fairly shortly and shall have a shot at sorting some of them out.