HC Deb 01 February 1967 vol 740 cc502-3
41. Dame Joan Vickers

asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress has been made in finding an adequate site for an airport near Plymouth.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

As I informed the hon. Member in a Written Answer on 25th January, a survey of possible sites is under consideration. Plans for such a survey will shortly be considered by the South West Planning Council.—[Vol. 739, c. 281.]

Dame Joan Vickers

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that these plans have been under consideration for about two years? Does he know that it is quicker to go to Belfast from here than it is to go to Plymouth? Having had the City of Plymouth Bill defeated, is it not up to the regional commissioner to get on and to find a site in the near future?

Mr. Mallalieu

The planning council is getting on as fast as possible but, as the hon. Lady knows, this is an extremely difficult geographical area.

Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody

Is my hon. Friend aware that in Exeter there is an excellent airport which is capable of great development, and that it is a great grief that this discussion is going on about looking for an alternative site so close to an airport which already exists?

Mr. Mallalieu

I doubt whether the citizens of Plymouth would say that Exeter was the ideal site for the airport, but that consideration should not be excluded.

Dr. David Owen

Is my hon. Friend aware that this decision has been agreed by the regional development planning council, that many people in the far South-West are judging the success of that council by its success in this venture, and it is very important that this success should be seen to occur very soon?

Mr. Mallalieu

Yes, it will be seen to occur if the planning council has all the facts.