HC Deb 06 November 1968 vol 772 cc883-4
5. Mr. J. H. Osborn

asked the President of the Board of Trade what consideration he has given to the construction of an airport at Todwick to serve Sheffield; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. William Rodgers

The construction of an airport to serve Sheffield would in the first instance, be a matter for the city council, and I understand that it has a project under consideration.

Mr. Osborn

Has a study been made of feeder line services in the United States? Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that South Yorkshire needs international business, and Sheffield is the largest city without a major airport? Will he offer positive encouragement rather than passive reception of information coming from the city council?

Mr. Rodgers

I should certainly offer positive encouragement to those who see an essential need and seek to satisfy it. I know the hon. Gentleman's long interest in the particular needs of Sheffield, and I hope that they will be pursued, bearing in mind the full nature of the problem and regional as well as local requirements.

Mr. Hooley

Will my hon. Friend confirm that positive and careful consideration is being given to the construction of a major airport in the Yorkshire-Humber-side areas?

Hon. Members

Nothing to do with it.

Mr. Rodgers

There seems to be a difference of opinion about what is needed, which emphasises the need for very careful consideration. We shall bear in mind and take the closest interest in all proposals made to us.

Mr. Corfield

Is not one of the major obstacles to a really successful regional development policy the lack of international air services to and from many of our provincial centres?

Mr. Rodgers

That goes rather wider than the Question. We have to keep a sense of proportion here. We want the full development of domestic and international services, but we must make sure that our investment in civil aviation and airports is acceptable in terms of total national priorities.