HC Deb 24 April 1968 vol 763 cc227-9
22. Mr. Marten

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many airlines have broken the noise regulations at London Airport in the last three months; which three airlines are the main offenders; which are the three main offending aircraft; and what action he has taken against the offenders.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

During the three months to 29th February, out of nearly 13,000 monitored movements there were 35 infringements of the requirements. Fifteen airlines infringed, but only Pan American, B.O.A.C. and T.W.A. infringed more than twice. The aircraft most concerned were Boeing 707s, VC1Os and DC 8s. Each infringement is discussed with the airline concerned to find out why it happened. Action can, of course, be taken against operators or pilots who persistently offend without justification. But thanks to the co-operation of the airlines, there have been none such so far.

Mr. Marten

Can the Minister say whether the number of offences has increased, whether they have been largely at night, and whether they have been consistently with one particular pilot?

Mr. Mallalieu

On the last question, consistently with one particular pilot, no. I would like notice of the other questions.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

Is my hon. Friend aware that there has been a slight improvement in the noise level at Heathrow recently, and will he do his best to ensure that this is maintained during the summer months?

Mr. Mallalieu

I am astonished and delighted that my hon. Friend has found some improvement. I will certainly endeavour to do what he asks.

Mr. A. Royle

Is the Minister of State aware that his answer is unsatisfactory? There are many aircraft breaking the height regulations over Richmond. Will he tell the House what action he has taken against offending pilots, and will he in future report to the House any disciplinary action taken by his Department?

Mr. Mallalieu

Action which can be taken would be to stop an airline from using a particular airport if it persistently offended, but there has been no case of persistent offence so far. On the height regulations, we monitored over Heathrow nearly 1,100 approaches in the last three months and there were only two infringements.

Mr. Russell Kerr

Is the Minister aware that there is still widespread feeling among residents in the areas surrounding London Airport that the Government are insufficiently aware of the predicament they face daily and nightly? Will the Minister give further attention to doubling the allowance for soundproofing?

Mr. Mallalieu

I can assure my hon. Friend that the Government are fully aware of the predicament of residents near airports and in the glide path. We have no possibility of avoiding our knowledge of that fact because of the continual representations which have been made. We are looking at the soundproofing scheme again.