HC Deb 05 February 1968 vol 758 cc30-1
51. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Minister of Tecnology whether radiation levels experienced by passengers in Concorde will be greater than those received in lower flying aircraft; and what maximum dosage is expected.

Mr. Stonehouse

Radiation levels are higher at these altitudes, but are still far too low to constitute of hazard to passengers' health, except on the very rare occassions when there are severe solar flares. Concorde will carry a device to give warning of these, so that the pilot can descend to a lower altitude and continue the flight.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

Is it not the case that there will be no opportunity., in the event of a solar flare, for the pilot to descend to a lower level, and, as this is only one of the snags for passengers in supersonic flying, would he not be well-advised to devote the attention of the Ministry to more productive fields which convenience more people and inconvenience fewer?

Mr. Stonehouse

On the first part of the supplementary I am advised that the in-flight device will enable the plane to descend to a height where there will be no danger at all from these flares.

Mr. Onslow

Will the Minister confirm what it, perhaps, more important, that the same applies to the crew, and will he not deprecate the vendetta of his hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) against the Concorde?

Mr. Stonehouse

We shall have an opportunity fully to debate questions about the Concorde. We are satisfied that there is no health risk involved in this plane's flying. If we had felt that there would be, the whole project would have been stopped a long time ago. There will be no risk to the crew. The amount of danger to which they will be exposed is no more than approximately five X-rays per year.