HC Deb 20 February 1968 vol 759 cc223-5
23. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what representations he has received from local authorities and other bodies and individuals in Essex against the proposed realignment of Stansted runways; and what reply he has made.

Mr. MacDermot

My right hon. Friend has received representations from 15 local authorities in Essex, including six parish councils, and six local authorities in Hertfordshire, and from 15 other organisations and 14 private objectors or groups of objectors.

These views are now being carefully considered.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Will the Minister kindly circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of the authorities and others who have made these representations to his Department? Does he realise that the proposed realignment would make matters even worse for my constituents and subject even more Essex schools to intolerable noise? What new inquiry is proposed?

Mr. MacDermot

Certainly I will consider the hon. Gentleman's suggestion about circulating the list. I think it is better that I do not comment on the representations which have been made, as they are still under consideration.

Mr. Boston

Can my hon. and learned Friend say whether there is any substance in the suggestion by the anti-Stansted lobby that the Council on Tribunals might be told to look into the possibility of further inquiries? Does he not think that there have been enough inquiries already, and that it is now time to get on with the work of building the airport?

Mr. MacDermot

I know that a suggestion has been made about the Council on Tribunals and that the Council is itself considering the matter. With regard to the question of further inquiries, this is among the matters which have been urged in the representations to which I have referred. Like all the other representations, it is being considered.

Mr. Allason

Has the Minister had any representations from the Railways Board, as I understand that British Railways have discovered that the scheme will cost another £20 million? What does he intend to do about objections from those people who, whilst not aggrieved by the previous scheme, will be aggrieved by the new scheme which is to be put forward? Surely they are entitled to make their objections at a public inquiry.

Mr. MacDermot

The Railways Board is not among the bodies to which I referred. The second matter raised by the hon. Gentleman is among those being considered and which were the subject of representations.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Why does the Minister not admit that the Government have been wrong about this altogether and should start again from scratch?

Mr. MacDermot

Because we do not agree with the hon. Gentleman's premise. We think that the proposal made by this Government, which is, incidentally, the one made by the previous Government, is right.

Mr. George Jeger

Since the original proposal depended on the runway being left as it was and utilised, and that has now been discarded, is there not a case for an independent new inquiry to be held?

Mr. MacDermot

I can only repeat that I do not want to comment on matters on which we have received representations. This is one of them.

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