§ 4.2 p.m
§ Mr. Geoffrey Rippon (Hexham)
I beg to move,That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Town and Country Planning General Development (Amendment) Order 1968 (S.I., 1968, No. 1623), dated 14th October, 1968, a copy of which was laid before this House on 21st October in the last session of Parliament, be annulled.The Order is thoroughly bad. Stripped of its smokescreen of legal verbiage, its purpose can be summarised simply. It is to give certain public authorities, notably the British airports Authority, power to carry out important development without regard to the normal planning procedures. Basically, therefore, what we are discussing is the further extension of the arbitrary power of the Government and nationalised undertakings to override and disregard the laws that apply to the rest of the community. We are discussing a striking illustration of what has gone wrong in our society and with our system of government. It is that we have exchanged the protection of the rule of law—the guarantee of individual rights under the law by independent courts—for a complex system of administrative law that is changed from day to day at the whim of the Government.
If the Minister does not agree this afternoon to withdraw the Order, that will be another indication that the House is no longer functioning as the protector of the rights of the individual against the arbitrary acts of the Executive. The Government must be well aware by now of the grave public anxieties that have been aroused by the Order, and of the strength of the representations made by the local planning authorities, the local authority associations, the Greater London Council, the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, and many other organisations.
221 Their immediate cause for concern is perfectly clear and perfectly justified. It is that the Order intends that a general planning permission should be given for any development of an airport—with the exception of the construction or extension of runways—which is required in connection with the movement of aircraft or the embarking, disembarking, loading, discharge or transport of passengers, livestock or goods at an aerodrome. That will cover most buildings that one can think of at any airport.
In other words, the Order is designed ot give the British Airports Authority the right to go ahead with pretty well any development it likes, except the construction and extension of runways, without any regard for planning considerations, such as what the effect of that development will be on employment, housing, traffic or noise problems in the vicinity of the airport.
It will be no good the Minister saying, as he may, that the Order simply puts the British Airports Authority in the same position as other statutory undertakings have been in for some years. In practice it will go far wider. Whether other undertakings should have that privileged position is something we might profitably look at another time. No one can doubt that proposed developments by the British Airports Authority are calculated to have a considerably more marked effect on the lives of the people living in the areas affected than likely developments of other statutory undertakings.
No one knows this better than the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington), who, from this side of the House, on numerous occasions, raised the problems of noise at London Airport. What he and his committee on public participation in planning think about all this I hesitate to guess.
The Minister has virtually admitted that there will be a marked effect. Let me read from Circular 55/68, dated 31st October this year, which explains the Order. Paragraph 3 says:The Ministers and the British Airports Authority recognise that development at an airport may well have a marked effect on other planning proposals for the area,"—222 The House will note the use of the phrase "marked effect"; it is no more than the truth of the matter. The paragraph adds later:The authority has therefore given the following written undertaking to the Ministers:—'The British Airports Authority recognise that development at an airport can have a marked effect on the amenity of adjoining land, and on other planning proposals for the area. It therefore gives this undertaking that, notwithstanding the permission granted by the amending order, it will consult with the local planning authority before carrying out any development for which permission is given by that order, save in the case of minor works urgently needed to enable the airport to function efficiently.'Paragraph 4 refers to the planning authorities having an opportunity to comment on the development proposed. This is not good enough. It is not sufficient for the local planning authorities just to have the right to comment. I do not doubt, and nobody on this side of the House doubts, the good faith of the British Airports Authority, but it must be recognised that it has its own statutory duty under the 1965 Act to have regard primarily to the efficient running of the airport. It is concerned with commercial considerations. That is its business, and no one will complain about that, provided it is prepared to submit its proposals to the ordinary planning process and to demonstrate that what it proposes is in the general public interest, which must involve consideration of the wider planning aspects.
I am always a little nervous of proposals for discussions between two parties when one of them knows right from the start that however good the case put up by the other side he can decide the issue in his own favour, and, indeed, might almost have a statutory duty so to do, looking at the matter simply from the British Airports Authority's point of view. If discussions are to start on an equal basis, there must be provision for appeal to the courts or the Minister.
As the Minister well knows, the Authority at present enjoys the Crown's general exemption from planning control. Instead, developments are the subject of consultation between the Authority and the local planning authorities under the procedure laid down in Circular 100, which was issued as long ago as December, 1950. Its procedure provides for the reference of disputes or differences to the 223 Minister. In those circumstances, it is fair to say that the locally-elected planning authorities have been able to enter into discussions on a more or less equal basis, and it can be said that the system has worked tolerably well.
Our complaint about the Order is that it will serve only to undermine quite needlessly public confidence in the whole operation of the planning machinery. If the British Airports Authority can make its case for its development in the ordinary and proper way, no one can complain. The Minister must explain why it cannot be done in the manner to which we have become accustomed.
The Minister can be in no doubt about the anxiety which has been caused to residents around Stansted and other airports in recent weeks. It appears to us that the Government have totally disregarded the scale of possible future airport development. Quite apart from the whole question of the siting of new major airports, or the extension or building of new runways, serious questions can arise. It has been suggested that with existing runways, the traffic at Stansted can be expanded extensively, perhaps as much as fivefold. The traffic at many other airports can also be expanded extensively in the same way.
I do not want again to go over all the ground that we traversed in the Stansted debate on 29th June last year, except to say that the outcome of that affair should have deterred the Government from trying to override public opinion in these matters. It is clear from the way in which the Government have persisted in putting forward the Order that they are not as sensitive as they should be to public opinion in these matters.
As an editorial in The Times on 29th October this year said, in commenting on the Order:Stansted comes first to mind.In a letter to The Times, in which he denied that the rapid expansion of activity at Stansted implied any intention to convert it into the third London airport by backstairs methods while the Roskill Commission was sitting, Mr. Peter Masefield, Chairman of the Authority, reminded readers thatany necessary extension to the interim terminal during this time will of course be subject to the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act.224 The Times went on to say:What he did not say, and perhaps did not know, was that the provisions of that Act were about to be altered in a way which considerably reduces their effectiveness.It may be that he did not think it necessary to have them altered in this way.
I note, and the whole House will welcome, the Minister's assurance in his statement on 29th October that the Order will not be used to undermine the Roskill Commission or to undertake major de-developments at Stansted. What worries us on this side, however, is that whatever may be the Minister's good intentions, there is no doubt that the Order gives power to do this. That is why we so strongly dispute its desirability. Why take unnecessary powers if it is not intended to use them and if it is not necessary to have them? The Minister should be perfectly clear that in this case the public deeply and bitterly resent the way in which the Government have proceeded in this matter.
After all our previous discussions on town and country planning during the last year or two, I had hoped that whatever our political differences might be the Labour Party at least shared our desire to see the general public brought into closer consultation about planning development generally. Surely the Minister remembers that in all our debates on the Town and Country Planning Bill there was a unanimous feeling that, because planning is essentially concerned with providing benefits for people, ways and means had to be found of ensuring that people had their rights respected and that they would be able to contribute to the discussion of new developments.
We have locally-elected local planning authorities representing the views of local people. Why should they be cut off, as the Order proposes, from major decisions such as the development of airports by arbitrary action by the Government or by an authority appointed by the Government?
Our feeling on this side is that the fundamental weakness of the Government's whole planning policy, which the Order underlines, is that they simply do not appear to understand the relationship between economic and physical planning. They seem to have a total lack 225 of understanding of the importance of the quality of environment or the need to relate the economic and physical measures, of the sort which an airport authority might carry out, to the social forces which are at work in the community and which have to be respected.
I have no doubt that there is a need for a Minister for Planning and Land in some form or another, but not simply because another Department has disappeared. Whatever may be the case for a Minister for Land and Natural Resources, which the Prime Minister first established, then abolished and has now half-restored, there is no sense in a situation in which the Minister for Planning and Land is made subordinate to the Minister responsible for tactical day-to-day decisions.
It is the Minister for Planning and Land who should be considered concerned with these strategic matters. It will be interesting to hear from the new Minister how he interprets his rôle in the scheme of things, but, unfortunately, we will not be doing so today. Perhaps he has been prudently kept out of the batting order.
It is extremely ironic, to say the least, that only last week, on 7th November, the Minister of Housing and Local Government sent out a circular in which he urged local authorities to direct some of their publicity activities towards promoting higher standards of public behaviour in the matter of noise and also urged them to exercise stricter control over noisy tools and plant. They can deal with noisy tools and plant but not, apparently, with the much more important matter of airports.
That circular followed the final Report of the Committee on the Problem of Noise. But what is the good of having a Committee on the Problem of Noise to make representations designed to help planning authorities to control noise and then to deny it a say on development at airports, which raises the question of noise in probably its most acute form?
For that matter, what is the use of having these Constitutional Commissions or Committees on Public Participation in Planning and then introducing an Order of this kind which deliberately cuts down public participation? While all these stage armies of paper tigers who serve 226 on these multifarious advisory bodies are leisurely employed in hitting all these balls into the long grass, the Government continue the steady progress, which they have made ever since they took office, of widening the gap between themselves and the people they seek to govern.
In our view, the Minister should, here and now, agree to withdraw the Order and take no further action. If he cannot accept that, at least he should agree to withdraw the Order and amend it so that we ensure that planning permission is still required for any development which would be likely materially to affect the surrounding areas by reason of increased traffic, noise or employment. These are the relevant factors. If the Minister is not prepared to do that, I shall certainly advise my right hon. and hon. Friends to press this matter to a Division this evening.
§ Mr. Speaker
May I remind the House that this debate ends at round about 7 o'clock and that there are four Front Benchers taking part in it. If we are to get a representative cross-section of the House, it will help if right hon. and hon. Members speak briefly.
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ The Minister of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Anthony Greenwood)
I think that I should begin by explaining that my right hon. Friend the Minister for Planning and Land would normally be taking this debate, as he is responsible under my general supervision for planning and land policy, but as I had been involved in all the previous discussions and debates about Stansted, and as my good faith and that of some of my other right hon. Friends has been called into question because of the laying of the Order, I thought it right that I should take part in the debate today.
I fully take your point, Mr. Speaker, that there is very little time. I will do my best to give the general background to the Order and to deal with the special position of Stansted as briefly as possible. I hope to persuade the House that the fears that the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) has expressed are without justification.
Parliament decided in 1965 that the British Airports Authority should be set up and should have the status of statutory undertaker. The House will know that 227 we have recently spent a great deal of time discussing the position of statutory undertakers under planning law and that the Government have agreed to a substantial diminution in the privileges which they have enjoyed for many years. I had hoped to have heard a tribute paid by the right hon. and learned Gentleman for that.
Nobody could seriously contend that statutory undertakers should not enjoy some measure of freedom from day-today planning control within areas already committed to their purposes, but not the very wide powers that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has described. All statutory undertakers have this right and the range of the development covered depends on the nature and the function of the undertaking.
The purpose of this amendment Order is to put the British Airports Authority into broadly the same position as other statutory undertakers. It enables the Authority to carry out development for providing services and facilities needed for the operation of its airports and to put up buildings required in connection with the movement or maintenance of aircraft or the movement of passengers and goods. There are many things it does not cover—for example, runways, buildings which are not operational to their airport, and development by lessees of the Authority, such as the airlines.
§ Mr. Walter Clegg (North Fylde)
Could the Minister help the House by suggesting the kind of building to which he has just referred and which is non-operational?
§ Mr. Greenwood
If the hon. Gentleman will contain himself in patience, he will find that I come to that later in what I have to say. I want to get through this as quickly as possible, because I know that many hon. Members want to take part in the debate.
The British Airports Authority has undertaken to consult the planning authority about development other than urgent minor development carried out under the Order. I will come back to this in more detail later. I think that this is the point the hon. Gentleman has in mind.
The immediate effect of this consultation will be to bring to the notice of the 228 planning authority any development it may regard as unwelcome and enable it to seek to bring it under specific control by seeking the Minister's confirmation of a direction under Article 4 of the General Development Order. I cannot undertake to approve any direction which may be submitted, but if consultation has failed to produce an agreed solution I would certainly approach any such direction with considerable sympathy and take into account the impact of airport development on the surrounding area.
In all this the British Airports Authority is put on the same footing as other statutory undertakers, against a statutory background recently considered and amended by Parliament.
What is special to the British Airports Authority is the type of development covered by the Order. It is only fair to say, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman reminded us, that the local authority associations have expressed strong views about it. The A.M.C. was opposed to any further concessions to statutory undertakers, while the County Councils Association was concerned that the Order removed from the local authority control over developments at an airport which might have a substantial impact on the surrounding area, particularly in generating traffic, employment and noise. The Association pressed, in fact, for the continuation of the consultation arrangements under Circular 100 which were used when the Ministry of Aviation owned these airports.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman was wrong in saying that Circular 100 applies now. It ceased to operate when the British Airports Authority took over the airports from the Ministry of Aviation.
It is a fair point to make that consultation was one of the demands made by the associations; and consultation is what has been provided, coupled with the long-stop of the Article 4 direction. On any planning application or appeal which follows a direction, I can order an inquiry. However, today I accept that the associations would have liked a much more restricted Order.
As to the range of matters covered by the Order—I know that my hon. Friend 229 the Member for Epping (Mr. Newens) and the hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Kirk) are very closely interested in this—I think it essential to bear in mind the nature of the activity we are dealing with. I agree that substantial increases in the scale of activity at a major airport is a matter in which the planning authority must properly be concerned, but to attempt to deal with problems of this nature by requiring the British Airports Authority to go through the formal mechanics of making a planning application for buildings it wants to erect within its established airfields seems to me to be very wide of the mark.
§ Mr. Greenwood
I am glad that the hon. Gentleman gives me the opportunity to say. For one thing, there are many factors other than the erection of buildings which govern the level of traffic at an airport. One of the most important—runways—is specifically excluded from the Order. More important, these wide-ranging matters are much more suitably and satisfactorily dealt with by means of consultation well in advance of detailed proposals to erect buildings—consultations which can and should bring in, not only the planning authority and the British Airports Authority, but all the Government Departments concerned—for example, the Board of Trade, the Ministry of Transport, and my own Department.
§ Mr. F. V. Corfield (Gloucestershire, South)
Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Chairman of the British Airports Authority has made it quite clear that the only limiting factor to extending the activity at Stansted up to 150,000 movements per year is lack of terminal facilities, which the Authority can now build under this Order without any planning permission whatever?
§ Mr. Greenwood
Questions of air traffic will be dealt with by my hon. Friend the Minister of State when he winds up the debate. I myself will deal with some of the assurances that the British Airports Authority has given during the course of the last few weeks. This, as I was describing, is what we have made possible through the new consultation arrangements which are part of this package.
230 Nevertheless, we amended the draft Order in two important respects before bringing it before the House. We have excluded runways, even extensions to existing runways, so that such proposals would always require specific planning permission. We have totally excluded development by lessees of the British Airports Authority—mainly the airlines—at its airports. These works by lessees might include such major developments as maintenance hangars, workshops and freight terminals, which can give rise to substantial increases in employment and traffic. In this respect, the amending Order is narrower than corresponding provisions for certain other statutory undertakers.
In short, the Government believe that there is a clear case for making an Order such as this, to enable the British Airports Authority to get on with its operations without unnecessary formality. The exact scope of Orders of this kind can obviously be a matter for argument; but once Parliament has set up an organisation of this kind, and determined its status, it is the responsibility of Ministers to propose those arrangements which seem to them to be right.
Taking as a whole the contents of the Order, the possibility of directions restricting its scope if the need should arise, and the extensive consultation arrangements, I believe that we have a fair and workable proposition which the House can approve.
I have already briefly referred to the undertaking about consultation which the British Airports Authority has given, and I think that the House will wish to have the full text. It is as follows:The British Airports Authority recognises that development as an airport can have a marked effect on the amenity of adjoining land, and on other planning proposals for the area. It therefore gives this undertaking that, notwithstanding the permission granted by the amending Order, it will consult with the local planning authority before carrying out any development for which permission is given by that Order, save in the case of minor works urgently needed to enable the airport to function efficiently.
§ Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)
My right hon. Friend will appreciate that the British Airports Authority now extends into Scotland, covering Edinburgh and Prestwick. Do I take it that what he is saying applies to those two airports?
§ Mr. Greenwood
I am surprised that my hon. Friend, who is so well acquainted with Scottish affairs, should not have realised that this Order does not apply to Scotland.
§ Mr. Greenwood
This is a matter which my hon. Friend must take up in due course with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.
§ Mr. Rankin rose—
§ Mr. Greenwood
I must get on. This is not an Order applying to Scotland. I will discuss it with my hon. Friend later.
This is a very far-reaching undertaking, and since then the authority has made it clear to me that it would be willing to give a further assurance, in response to a suggestion from one of the local authority associations, that consultations should start at the earliest possible date, and that on final reference to the local planning authority it should be given two months in which to comment, save in exceptional cases of urgency. This is the time for consultation allowed under Circular 100 procedure.
§ Mr. Greenwood
Then the matter goes to my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade and myself.
So far, I have been discussing the Order in general terms. I now turn to its application to Stansted, about which there has been a great deal of misunderstanding. When the Order was laid it was misconstrued—
§ Mr. Rippon
Why does the right hon. Gentleman say that it comes, under the Order, to himself and the President of the Board of Trade in the event of a dispute?
§ Mr. Greenwood
I was, at that stage, referring to Stansted, which I understood was the airport the hon. Gentleman had in mind. The normal procedure which I described will apply there.
§ Mr. Rippon
What is the normal procedure under this Order? It is not to 232 come to the right hon. Gentleman or the President of the Board of Trade.
§ Mr. Greenwood
It is perfectly clear in the Order. I must not follow the right hon. and learned Gentleman into this.
As I was saying, when the Order was laid it was misconstrued as a measure which would enable the British Airports Authority to build up Stansted into a third London airport by back-door methods. I have already categorically denied that this is the case and this denial was repeated in another place by the Government spokesman last Wednesday.
Let me spell out in detail the various safeguards which would prevent this happening. Some of them are of general application, and I have touched on them already. Some are specifically related to Stansted in the period before the Roskill Commission reports.
First, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade would not authorise substantial capital expenditure involved in other than minor development at Stansted. Second, the Airports Authority has given assurances that there is neither the need, nor the intention, to carry out other than minor development pending the Roskill report. Third, the Authority will consult the planning authority in the manner I have described, and if there should be disagreement the planning authority could make an Article 4 direction. Fourth, if a direction were made and permission refused on an application, my right hon. Friend and I could consider the merits of the development.
The point has been made that if we were to refuse, compensation could be claimed by the Authority. This is so, and in this respect statutory undertakers are in the same position as a private individual or an industrialist who loses the right to carry out permitted development under the General Development Order. But there is the further important safeguard in that my right hon. Friend and I could, under Section 170(3) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1962, direct that the compensation provisions should not apply.
Fifth—and this is a new assurance I have received within the last few days—the Authority has in any event undertaken not to claim such compensation pending the Roskill report. Sixth, if the 233 airlines seek to carry out development such as the erection of hangars, good terminals, etc., they will be subject to full planning control. They will be unlikely, in any case, to risk much capital investment at Stansted pending the report.
I have not spoken at great length, because our time is limited and I know that there are many hon. Members on both sides who wish to speak. My hon. Friend who will be winding up for the Government will deal with matters that I have not covered, including the level of air traffic at Stansted.
I will end by repeating that the fears that have been expressed about this Order, though understandable, are without foundation. I think that I have demonstrated that there is no possibility of large-scale development slipping through on the nod at Stansted while the Roskill Commission is sitting.
As to the more general application of the Order, I think that we have on this occasion combined a reasonable degree of freedom from day-to-day control with a new and valuable system of advance consultation which will bring the local planning authorities into the picture more effectively than they are at present. For these reasons, I commend the Order to the House.
§ Mr. Corfield
Before the right hon. Gentleman sits down, may I ask a question? He said the erection of hangars, and so on, will come under the ordinary planning control as it is at present. Surely a hangar is a building required in connection with the improvement or maintenance of aircraft, and that most certainly would not come under that heading.
§ Mr. Greenwood
What I was referring to at that stage was the buildings for which the lessees are responsible. I was referring to the airline's hangars and other buildings which were purely the concern of the airlines.
§ 4.36 p.m.
§ Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)
The right hon. Gentleman has referred to the aspect of Stansted Airport and the general planning aspect. I have a constituency interest in the first, and an interest in the second deriving from some study of and preoccupation 234 with matters of town planning now extending for over 30 years. As a result, I am bound to say that I have found the Minister's defence of his position singularly unconvincing.
Since hearing him, I add a third interest, that of a constitutionalist. I think, and I hope that I will carry the House with me in this, that it is always undesirable to give powers on the basis that they will be qualified by undertakings not to use them, or not to use them in certain circumstances. Powers so qualified by undertakings, which will be unenforceable, are in the nature of things probably imprecise and difficult to interpret. It is a wrong and unsatisfactory way of legislating, and I find it a disturbing feature of the right hon. Gentleman's observations.
I will deal briefly with the background of the matter from the aspect of town planning law and practice. As the House will know, planning permission can be of two kinds—planning permission given by a local planning authority in response to an application, or planning permission known as permitted development, either by a Special Development Order or a General Development Order under Section 14 of the 1962 Act. That is the position for those types of development for which planning permission is required at all. Before 1965, airports fell into the happy position of being immune from planning control, by reason of the constitutional principle of the Crown not being bound by Statute.
It was in those days, of course, that the Circular 100 1950 procedure applied. Even so, as the right hon. Gentleman will recall—and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) will certainly recall, since we were engaged in it together—the setting up of Gatwick Airport was preceded by a most searching, penetrating and exhaustive inquiry.
We are concerned here not with a Special Development Order, but with the General Development Order. Whereas Special Development Orders are rare, ad hoc instruments for individual developments of particular importance, the basis of the General Development Order, which we are here amending, is that it is a single, continuing, comprehensive Order relating not to individual development, but to classes of development.
235 We have referred to Article 3, which says:Subject to the subsequent provisions of this order, development of any class specified in schedule 1 to this order is permitted by this order and may be undertaken…without the permission of the local planning authority or the Minister.It is true that this is subject to what is called an Article 4 direction, to which the Minister referred. He can "claw it back" from the category of permitted development. But we should remember that this remedy, on which he builds so much, is at best discretionary, and the possibility of the protection of an Article 4 direction in the context of this airport development is at best a cold comfort, because there is nothing which persons affected would be able to do to compel a direction. They would be at the mercy of the Minister, under whose unfettered discretion an Article 4 direction would remain.
The other safeguard which he suggests is consultation, but, of course, the right to be consulted is of very little value if the body doing the consultation is entitled to have its own way in the end, come what may. So I find both of the Minister's suggested safeguards illusory and tenuous to a degree. I further say that it is quite clear that on any objective analysis of the General Development Order, this does not fit.
There are 23 classes of permitted development within the Order, and I hasten to add that I do not intend to go through them all—
§ Sir D. Walker-Smith
For two reasons—first, because it would take up time, and, second, because, happily, it is possible, without going through them, to identify the distinguishing characteristics of the type of development with which they deal. These characteristics are three. Having identified them, we can then see which of them, if any, are present in the context of this development.
The first characteristic is that the permitted developments should be ancillary in character, like extensions to existing buildings and maintenance operations. The second is that they should be limited in their impact on the public. The third is that they should be of a 236 general nature, such that their frequency would clog up the ordinary machinery of town planning administration if dealt with by the normal procedure.
Those are the three characteristics and it is obvious that, where they exist, no harm can be done by including them within the category of permitted development. But the converse, of course, is that, if those tests are not satisfied, and particularly if none of them is satisfied, the development should not be given the privilege of inclusion in the category of permitted development, with its consequential immunity from planning control. It is surely apparent that none of these characteristics is satisfied in the case of this development.
This development clearly is not ancillary. The words of the Order are wide. The limitation in the Order in regard to buildings, to which also the Minister attaches importance, can be only as effective as the excepting provisions of the Order themselves are wide and effective. But the excepting provision in the Order is substantially eroded by the exception to the exception.
It is said, in effect, "You may not put up buildings, as such, as permitted development, but you may put up buildings if they are required in connection with the movement or maintenance of aircraft, etc." In other words, "You may not put up the sort of buildings you probably would not want to put up anyway in order to expand your airport, but you may put up the buildings that you would want to put up for that purpose."
We need not spend many words on the second test. This development would certainly not be limited in its impact on the public. No development has so great an impact in terms of amenity, noise and the like, and few, if any, have so much impact in terms of traffic congestion and increased demand for housing and public services. On the third test, obviously this type of development is not so general and frequent that it can be properly placed in a General Development Order. So far from being general and frequent, it is particular and occasional, but, when it does arise, so far from being routine, it is of vital local, and probably national, importance.
Therefore, we come to the inescapable conclusion that this development satisfies 237 none of those tests. So we are left with the question, that being so; why is the Order being introduced? I do not want to entertain suspicions either of the right hon. Gentleman, who is a very old personal friend, or of the British Airports Authority, but it must be faced that their conduct raises questions and demands explanations.
Why are such powers sought so illogically and so inappropriately if not designed for an undisclosed purpose? If there is an undisclosed purpose, what could it be except to expand the existing airport so as effectively to pre-empt the judgment of the Roskill Commission? These are the thoughts and doubts which have come to the minds of many of my constituents—and they are not by nature suspicious people—and of the local authorities who represent them, who are not suspicious, either. These doubts and misgivings are not to be resolved or dispelled by unenforceable undertakings or Ministerial generalisations. They will be dissolved only by the negativing of this Order, which is untimely, inappropriate, detrimental, disingenuous and dangerous, and I ask the House to treat it accordingly.
§ 4.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Blenkinsop (South Shields)
It is perfectly right that we should inquire into the operation of this Order. I take no exception to some of the comments of the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), but it was foolish of the Opposition to choose the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) to introduce this debate.
It is singularly inappropriate that we should have had this wide-ranging general attack of principle on the matters concerned in the Order and the whole position of statutory authorities—as this is what it came to—when the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows very well that he shares responsibility for the position of statutory undertakings and their privileged position, and that it is this Government who have to some extent weakened the position of statutory undertakings, with no particular help from him.
It is a matter of some interest that several of his hon. Friends, when discussing in Committee the position of 238 statutory undertakings, should, in a very cool and useful discussion, have made the case for some of the statutory undertakings and made it clear that they would not wish to see their special powers necessarily interfered with.
The right hon. and learned Member for Hexham made a windy, empty speech which was wholly inappropriate to the subject. I recognise the value and importance of challenging some items in the Order, but it was extraordinary for the right hon. and learned Gentleman to make a generalised attack on the whole situation without, at the same time, referring to the major alterations which the Labour Government have made as a result of recent legislation. His speech was utter hypocrisy and lacked knowledge of the subject, not necessarily for the first time.
Having said that, it is still true that many people are concerned about the introduction of the Order, particularly at a time when the modifications made in the powers of statutory undertakings have been welcomed. Recent legislation has modified these powers and it therefore seems somewhat illogical that we should be giving what one might call some cause for anxiety for the situation, particularly when there is evidence of our desire to challenge the position of statutory authorities.
I understand that the Association of Municipal Corporations and other bodies accept that airport authorities, like other statutory authorities, should have certain rights to enable them to take action without going through the normal planning procedures of local authorities for what can be regarded as urgently required minor works for the efficient operation of their airports. Be that as it may, the argument is simply whether or not the Order goes further than providing for necessary operational minor alterations.
Some parts of the Order—particularly those concerning the maintenance of buildings, runways, taxi-ways, aprons, and so on—are unobjectionable. For other parts, however, assurances should be given, particularly on the constructional side. The assurances given by the British Airports Authority have been helpful and I see no reason why that Authority should not have rights of action comparable with those granted to other statutory authorities.
239 I do not see why the Authority should be in a disadvantageous position compared with other statutory authorities, leaving aside the anxieties which have been aroused over Stansted. The fault over this can in part be laid at the door of hon. Gentlemen opposite, because their long delays caused this miserable situation to arise.
I therefore still require certain assurances about the way in which these undertakings will be carried out. Would it not have been better to have made the necessary provision in the Order, and so to have made the position clear?
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
The hon. Gentleman is on our side. He is asking his right hon. Friend for certain assurances which are at present not available. He is saying that if they are not satisfactory, they should be written into the Order.
§ Mr. Blenkinsop
I am waiting to be convinced. I pointed out that large sections of the Order are unobjectionable. There is some doubt about one part of it, and I believe that my doubts can be cleared up.
In his general, wide ranging attack, the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham raised the whole question of the quality of environment. In an extraordinarily generalised statement, he said that the Government were not concerned with this. It should be patently obvious, as a result of a range of recent legislation, that the Labour Party has done far more in its short period in office than the Conservatives ever achieved to overcome these problems—indeed, to put right some of the disasters perpetrated by hon. Gentlemen opposite. The mess and dereliction they left revealed, before we got to work, that practically nothing was done about this problem while they were in office. It was, therefore, tasteless and stupid of the right hon. and learned Gentleman to have raised the whole matter.
Similarly, on the question of aircraft noise, the Labour Government have an excellent record, not only for their achievements at home but for the agreements they are seeking to make throughout Western Europe. I have had the opportunity of discussing this problem with those responsible for most of the main airports in Western Europe. There 240 is no doubt that Britain has both stimulated research and been active in securing and working for international agreements. The record of Her Majesty's Government in this matter is better than that of any other Western European Government.
§ 4.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Kirk (Saffron Walden)
I should, perhaps, apologise for once again bringing the affairs of my constituency before the House. I wish to make it clear at the outset, however, that I oppose the Order on general principles as well as on purely local grounds.
I hope that the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Blenkinsop) will accept that I am not making a political point when I say that I have for some time been worried about the general exemptions of statutory undertakers from the normal planning laws, certainly since the Abingdon gasholder case. I accept that the legislation passed last Session has gone a long way towards helping in this matter, but it would have been better if all planning problems had been put on an equal footing. Difficult though this would have been—leaving aside the question of purely minor works, which it would have been annoying for statutory authorities to raise through the rigmarole of obtaining planning permission—it would have been beneficial.
The Order is so widely drawn that it needs a great amount of justification. In view of the effect that an airport is bound to have on the surrounding countryside, in addition to the whole question of not only the physical but the economic planning of a whole area, we have not had that justification for the Order, which goes further than any other permission given to any other statutory undertaker except one; it is broadly comparable with that given to dock undertakers. Of course, the noise problem does not arise in the case of docks as it does in the case of airports, for by their very nature docks cannot be surrounded by residents whereas airports are surrounded by people living in the area.
In the case of railways, buildings of this type are permitted only when they are within the interior area of the railway itself and other undertakers such as gas, water and electricity have to seek permission for the erection or material 241 reconstruction of buildings. What the Minister or the Airports Authority is asking us to do is to give them a much wider power than is given to any statutory undertaker save one and that one does not have the particular drawbacks from a planning point of view that an airport has.
I rather got the impression that the Minister was asking us to accept the Order with the verbal undertakings he was prepared to give in the debate. I share the reservations of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith). This is not the way we should proceed. I have known the Minister for many years and I like and respect him. Of course, he will see that these undertakings are accepted, but Ministers come and go while the British Airports Authority goes on for ever—or for a very long time. I am not quite sure whether the undertakings given by the Minister or by the Authority will necessarily be the last word in the matter.
We have had experience with the British Airports Authority which does not necessarily lead us to believe that the Authority is being wholly open about what is going on. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) referred to a letter written to The Times by the Chairman of the Airports Authority, Mr. Peter Masefield, on 14th September, in which he sought to allay anxiety about what was then going on at Stansted. This was before we knew about this Order. It had become clear in the summer that very considerable traffic build-up was going on at Stansted. A number of my constituents were worried that this appeared to be an attempt to create a third London airport by the back door.
This anxiety was conveyed to The Times, which published a leading article headed, "Cheating at Stansted". Mr. Masefield wrote a long letter disclaiming that this could be the case. He said:By the time that a decision may be expected on the site for a third London airport, there is no prospect that the existing runway at Stansted will attain anywhere near its theoretical capacity of 150,000 movements a year. Any necessary extensions to the interim terminal, during this time, will of course be subject to the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act.That was on 14th September, but two months before—we have this from his 242 own evidence to the Roskill Commission—on 9th July, he had already written to the right hon. Gentleman, or his Authority had, accepting that if this Order was to be made certain undertakings would have to be given. He knew on 14th September that he would not be subject to the normal procedures of the Town and Country Planning Act, but would get exceptions of the kind which would enable him to undertake developments of a very considerable nature.
It is important that we should understand the size of this development. The restriction on flying at Stansted has nothing to do with the runway. The exclusion of the runway from this Order so far as Stansted is concerned makes very little difference. The runway is there. This has been the trouble from the start, the trouble for both Governments. I have always been careful not to make any special point against either Government. The fault was originally made by the Conservative Government and it was compounded by the present Government. As Mr. Masefield said in his evidence to the Roskill Commission, the difficulty is shortage of terminal buildings.
I quote from the transcript of the evidence. Mr. Justice Roskill asked him:I mentioned earlier that your 1st October lecture showed Stansted as having handled about 33,000 aircraft movements in 1967, and this morning you gave us a slightly higher figure for the quarter ending 30th September, 1968. What is the present theoretical maximum of Stansted?The reply was:The theoretical capacity of the runway is the same as for any other runway. It is 32 s.c.r. per hour, which equates over a year to a theoretical total of about 150,000 movements per annum. That is the theoretical capacity, from a runway point of view. But it is no good having a runway without associated terminal facilities.That is the whole point. This is what is worrying us in the area. The Authority does not want the runway; it wants terminal facilities. I have told my constituents again and again during the period before the President of the Board of Trade granted us the Roskill inquiry that if we were to get that inquiry it would inevitably mean that there would be a traffic build-up at Stansted and Stansted would have to be used in the interim. What we wanted to be assured 243 of was that the traffic build-up would be so limited that it would not be possible at a later stage to come to the Government and to say, "Our capacity is so great that we cannot go anywhere else." Under this Order that is precisely what the Authority will be able to do.
I accept the right hon. Gentleman's undertakings that this is not what they intend to do at this moment, but we do not know how long the Roskill inquiry will sit and what the air traffic pattern will be. It would have been much better if future development at Stansted had not been subject just to undertakings but if by statutory arrangement it had to be decided by negotiation between the Airports Authority and the local authority. I do not think Mr. Masefield could deny that the British Airports Authority has absolutely no complaint whatever against the local authorities about planning permission. When the Authority wanted to build the temporary terminal, Essex County Council was only too glad to give it permission.
Anyone who has been to the airport knows that it is a sort of aeronautical slum with Nissen huts which are falling down. I hope that the Minister of State will visit it and will see the buildings which are crumbling. Of course, there have to be terminal facilities and the local authority had to give permission. Of course, if the Airports Authority can make out a genuine case for further development it has only to go to the local authority and permission will be given as it has been in the past.
When we read, in the annual report of the British Airports Authority, that the temporary terminal isa simple but practical building which will be capable of easy extension if growth of traffic justifies itwe get a little alarmed. It means that the Authority can go on adding to it steadily throughout the time and there is no way of stopping it except by an Article 4 direction. The problem about an Article 4 direction is that only the Minister can initiate it and there is the question of compensation.
I welcome what the Minister said about compensation. That is good news. We have had to spend too much already in the area defending ourselves without 244 the prospect of more compensation hanging over us, but it would have been very much better if the British Airports Authority actually needs the Order for purposes other than the development of Stansted—and we have heard nothing so far about Heathrow or Gatwick, the only other airports which can be affected because Scotland is excluded—if the Authority had said so. Then everyone would know what the Authority wants. The whole question of Stansted is in a sense sub judice, with the Roskill Commission sitting. If the Authority needed an Order of this kind it would have been better to exclude Stansted altogether. Then none of these suspicions would have arisen.
The Minister admitted today that there were understandable suspicions about Stansted. His noble Friend, last week, was not quite so charitable, for he said that the suspicions were "unwarranted". Traffic has been building up and the Airports Authority says that it is to do all-the-year-round training flights. Night training flights are the worst of all for my constituents. This sort of thing is building up the whole time. It is quite understandable that my constituents should have had suspicions about this Order, particularly because it appeared during the Recess and no one knew that it was coming and it was apparently in glaring opposition to the letter written to The Times by the Chairman of the Authority.
For that reason, on general and local ground, this Order is wrong and I very much hope that the House will reject it.
§ 5.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Stan Newens (Epping)
Many of the fears which have been voiced by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Kirk) are felt also by many of my constituents, irrespective of party political allegiance. Although I listened with care to the Minister's statement, it did not dispel all the concern which is felt locally.
None the less, I welcome what he said today and in his statement of 29th October. In particular, I welcome his categorical denial that the British Airports Authority would, as a result of this Order, be able to by-pass the Roskill Commission. Furthermore, I accept that the powers given by this Order to the Authority to develop an airport are less than 245 those originally envisaged in the Ministry's proposals in 1966. At that time there was no specific limitation on the construction or extension of runways, and no limitation on development by lessees.
Despite these statements and these restrictions, in my view the powers given to the Authority are still excessive. In saying this, I am not motivated by the sentiments of the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) against nationalised industries. My view on nationalised industries is completely different from his.
The powers to be granted are powers to erect buildings…required in connection with the movement or maintenance of aircraft or with the embarking, disembarking, loading, discharge or transport of passengers, livestock or goods…".Will the hon. Gentleman, in winding up, say what other buildings of real importance are required? It appears to me that under this Order the majority of the buildings which would be required could be developed without the permission of the local authority.
The hon. Member for Saffron Walden has already referred to the statement made by Mr. Peter Masefield that the existing constraint at Stansted is the terminal building capacity which is very small. If sufficient terminal capacity expansion could take place, theoretically Stansted could be developed to a level of activity to that at Gatwick. If this is not correct I hope that my hon. Friend will say so. It is, therefore, only natural that many people should have the fears which are today being voiced.
Although lessees are to be restricted by by Order, the Authority could overcome this restriction by itself carrying out the development of certain buildings and thereafter transferring them to lessees. I can see nothing to prevent this happening. If this is not so, I hope that my hon. Friend will make it clear.
Considerable powers are being transferred to the Authority, and considerable rights and powers are being taken away from the local planning authority. This is a matter of concern. My right hon. Friend has spoken of the safeguards provided for Stansted. He said that the Authority will consult with the local planning authority, but, as has already been pointed out, the right of consultation is 246 not equivalent to the right which exists at present.
My right hon. Friend said that the planning authority has the right to submit to the Minister for confirmation a direction under the Order requiring the Authority to seek a specific planning permission if development inappropriate to the proceedings before the Roskill Commission is suggested. But the Ministry is not regarded by local people as always being in sympathy with the views and fears which have been expressed. It could well be that in future the Ministry might take a different view of a development from that taken by the local authority.
We are today seeing a considerable move towards centralised power, and this trend prevails right through our society. I know that local democracy is very often inconvenient not only to nationalised industries but also to private industrial concerns. While I am an enthusiast for the centralisation of powers which must be centralised, I believe that it is necessary to keep a close watch all the way through to ensure that decisions which can be taken locally are taken at that level. I do not believe that the case has been made out for transferring the right of decision-making from the locality to the centre on the issue we are debating today and we should consider the matter further before voting for the Order.
The British Airports Authority has shown a singular lack of appreciation of the requirements of local planning. I need only refer to the report of the Inquiry which was made by Mr. G. B. Blake. I do not apologise for quoting what has been quoted on many occasions, even on the Floor of the House. At that time he said:It would be a calamity for the neighbourhood if a major airport were placed at Stansted. Such a decision could only be justified by national necessity. Necessity was not proved by evidence at the Inquiry.Despite this, the Authority was quite prepared to go ahead. We all recognise the great qualities of the Chairman of that Authority; his iron will and determination to ride roughshod over local planning considerations are widely known. He has a job to do, the importance of which I recognise, but we in this House should consider carefully whether 247 it is right to give the powers contained in the Order to an Authority which has shown such scant consideration for local planning considerations.
The Airports Authority, in its latest report, states that the general increase in air traffic activity will result in further business for Stansted, and that the airport must be developed within its existing boundaries to meet this need. If air traffic develops more rapidly than is expected, tremendous pressure will be brought to bear to go ahead and to build much more than is at present envisaged.
That brings me to the crux of the matter, as I see it. If large-scale capital development does occur at Stansted, this in itself will have a crucial effect on consideration of the cost which would be involved in siting the third London airport in a completely different area. In such circumstances, the Airports Authority might well argue that to go elsewhere would require large sums of capital to be written off, and this might well be an appreciable factor influencing the final decision on where the third airport should be.
I welcome the statement by the Minister of Housing and Local Government today that the President of the Board of Trade would not authorise large expenditures of capital at Stansted. I hope that he will stand by that assurance. None the less, as has already been said, Ministers may change, and situations may change. In the circumstances, how sure can we be that these undertakings would be honoured to the full?
I fully recognise the need to accommodate Britain's growing air traffic. It is crucial for the nation that we do our best to that end. I have no desire to put all the burden on Heathrow. It would be utterly selfish to say that all the development should take place there, and that is not the view of many of the people with whom I have discussed the matter. But I still feel anxiety on two points. First, I am anxious about the loss of local control—this concerns the principle involved, not just Stansted—and, second, I feel that developments which could be approved at Stansted could affect the final decision on where the third airport should be.
The hon. Member for Saffron Walden has stated that the powers to be granted 248 to the Airports Authority will exceed those granted to all other statutory undertakers save in connection with the docks. I hope that the Minister will say whether he agrees with that statement of the position. Everyone knows that developments at an airport can have a great deal more effect on the surrounding area and the amenities enjoyed by the people living there than practically any other form of development.
Having listened carefully to the argument, I still do not accept that the case has been made out, and for this reason I shall not be able to support the Order.
§ 5.23 p.m.
§ Mr. John Biggs-Davison (Chigwell)
I am delighted to follow the hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Newens), who is a geographical, if not an ideological, neighbour. I acknowledge the sincerity and determination with which the hon. Gentleman has taken part in the Stansted battle, headed by my hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Kirk), whose speech today was so notable that it is unnecessary for me to add much.
I am sorry that the Minister of Housing and Local Government has left the Chamber, as I wanted to tell him how sorry I felt for him in being associated with this Statutory Instrument. The right hon. Gentleman really cares for the countryside and the amenities of our land; he understands the case for preserving the neighbourhood of Stansted and of other places which might be harmed as a result of the Order. One may well wonder why he has tabled it. It is difficult to find an explanation for this Statutory Instrument which is both innocent and rational. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) said that the debate about Stansted which we had last June and all the surrounding agitation should have deterred Her Majesty's Government from tabling such an Order. What justification for it have we had today?
It has been argued that we should accept certain assurances, for example, about consultation. When I asked what would happen when consultation led to disagreement, I was told that everything would be referred to the President of the Board of Trade, who happens to be the member of the Government responsible 249 for civil aviation. Again, the Order has been justified by various other undertakings, which may prove less convincing in the future, to put it mildly, than they may appear to some hon. Gentlemen tonight.
The trouble is that what has happened over Stansted has destroyed so much public confidence in the Government's intentions. I do not wish to be unfair. The present President of the Board of Trade did something to restore a measure of public confidence when he announced the setting up of the Roskill Commission. But the tabling of this Order has undone all that, and suspicion is again rife.
One finds quite extraordinary ideas now going about. In my constituency, particularly in and around Abridge, and in the Lambourne Parish Council, there has been speculation because it is proposed to install a beacon at Stapleford Aerodrome. It has been said that tests are to be carried out at Stapleford to see whether the airfield there is a suitable location for a very high frequency omni-directional radar ranging system. Various views were put forward in the Epping and Ongar Rural District Council, and it was then said that the beacon was only temporary. The council was eventually more or less reassured that the installations were required only to supply additional navigational assistance to aircraft bound not for Stansted but for Heathrow. I mention that only to illustrate the extraordinary suspicions which are aroused because of the Government's conduct in the past and because of the present Order.
I am grateful for the assurances given by the Minister on 29th October, but I am concerned about the powers which the Order would give to the British Airports Authority. The Chairman of the Authority has already been referred to by the hon. Member for Epping, in very polite terms. In my view, the Chairman of the Authority has displayed a certain arrogance in these matters. I do not want to be more critical than that. But I am concerned that the Order would empower the British Airports Authority to construct buildings at Stansted or elsewhere which, by generating new employment, more traffic, more flights and more noise, would defeat the whole purpose of planning in the county where the airfield is situated.
250 I speak as an Essex Member but, like my hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden, I think that I speak in a wider interest, too. Undertakings are just not enough when there is, unfortunately, so much suspicion and distrust. I respectfully urge the Government to withdraw the Order and redraft it. If they do not, we shall be compelled to vote against it, and I for one shall do so with all my heart.
§ 5.29 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins (Putney)
The general proposition to free statutory undertakers from the restraints applicable to the rest of the community does not fill me with enthusiasm. The proposal to free a new authority—and, as has been said, one which is chaired with more enthusiasm than balance, perhaps—from these restraints, fills me with even less enthusiasm.
The use to which the powers conceded in the Order will be put is clearly that of capital investment; it will be for the necessary buildings, and so on, in the development of airports. The vast and increasing value of this investment will then become an important argument in urging wide and general development of the airport. It will be said that to make profitable use of the money which has gone into the airport the number of aircraft using it—the number of movements—must be substantially increased.
If I was sure that the suspicions which have been aired around the Chamber to the effect that this capital investment will take place at Stansted had substance. I should not be quite so worried as I am I have always taken the view that, while the final decisions are being made about the siting of the third London airport—I think that it will be the fourth—pressure of travel, tourism and commerce will build up. The airlines are, quite legitimately and successfully, expanding business. The recent failure of a piece of private enterprise should not blind us to the success of public enterprise in this sphere.
For this reason, we must expect that the aircraft operators and the Airports Authority, under pressure from the operators—because we must recognise that the Authority is perhaps more the creature of the aircraft operators than the instrument of the community—will bring pressure to bear for the further 251 and continued use and expansion of airports. This is legitimate and inevitable.
Our job is to protect the community from the consequences of these pressures. The Order removes one of those protections instead of strengthening them. This is what worries me. If the build-up to which I have referred is to occur, it is better that it should do so at Stansted than at Heathrow, where the amount of noise nuisance per resident affected is several hundred times greater than it is at Stansted.
Using the new index of community nuisance, which relates the number of people affected by noise and not only the amount of noise and the frequency of the aircraft, Heathrow is not merely ten times more affected but hundreds of times more affected, and it is likely to remain so, because almost uniquely aircraft landing at Heathrow fly over millions of homes, because most landings take place from east to west.
Therefore, practically the whole of London is normally flown over by aircraft landing at Heathrow when the wind is from the normal direction. When I landed there recently, the wind, possibly knowing that I was aboard the plane, turned and we landed the opposite way round; we did not fly over the residents of London. The people living under the glide path at Heathrow are far and away the worst affected people in the matter of aircraft noise.
I fear that this freedom for capital development might well be utilised, not only at Stansted—I think that it will be utilised there to some degree—but also at Heathrow. Then the argument will be deployed that the existing restrictions and restraints applying at Heathrow—for example, as to the number of flights which can be made at night—should be weakened or removed so as to make full and profitable use of the vast capital investment which is now being made.
I listened to my right hon. Friend the Minister with care. I have heard nothing to convince me that if the matter were to go to a vote it would be right for me to follow the Government into the Lobby and support the Order. Therefore, as of this moment, I take a similar view to that taken by my hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Newens). I 252 hope that in replying to the debate my hon. Friend the Minister of State will be able to adduce some more persuasive arguments.
I assure my right hon. Friend that the likely rate of development in aircraft operation during the next few years will call for both Stansted and another airport on the coast or in the estuary to contain it, if Britain is to retain its present European lead. As the Authority is answerable, not, as I think it should be, to the Ministry of Health, but to the Board of Trade, the consideration of how many dollars will be earned will be the only one which will carry full weight in deciding whether aircraft are allowed to come in.
§ Mr. Gwilym Roberts (Bedfordshire, South)
Is not part of the danger of the Order that it will tend to produce an increased expansion at Heathrow and Stansted and, therefore, perhaps defer looking towards coastal airports or offshore airports, which must be the ultimate answer?
§ Mr. Jenkins
This is a possibility, but it is not one which I hope will take place, because the Roskill Commission is urgently looking into the position.
I hope that knowledge of the pressure which exists will encourage the Commission to make an early recommendation and that when the Government receive the recommendation they will act upon it with celerity. With the arrival of the jumbo jet, and of supersonic flying, we urgently need an airport which can be approached from over the sea. We need an airport either in the estuary or on the coast, where large numbers of people will not be incommoded.
In addressing myself to the Order I do not wish to pursue the matter wider than I have done already. I said that the Authority is answerable to the Board of Trade and not to the Department represented by my hon. Friend the Minister of State. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] I apologise. My hon. Friend has made such rapid movement and progress that I had forgotten that he has landed up at the Board of Trade. I congratulate him.
I am disturbed that the Board of Trade is the Department which will ultimately be responsible for what the Authority does. The Board of Trade and the Air 253 ports Authority have taken so little notice of a recommendation by the Parliamentary Commissioner that they should measure the amount of noise made by aircraft landing that no action has been taken on the recommendation. At Heathrow, still the only measurement of noise is that made on take-off. No measurement is taken of the amount of noise occurring on landing, but that is the noise which creates the greatest amount of nuisance to the greatest number of people. I take this omission as evidence of the fact that the Board of Trade should not be given the responsibility which will fall upon them in administering the Order.
Yesterday, I recommended that responsibility for films should be removed from the Board of Trade. Today, I recommend that responsibility for aircraft noise should be removed from that Department. Clearly, my hon. Friend the Minister of State will appreciate that I wish to remove a little of his existing heavy burden.
§ Mr. Jenkins
In concluding what I have to say, I will not respond to the temptation placed before me by my hon. Friend except to say that in my view, the question of aircraft noise should be the responsibility of the Minister of Health.
§ 5.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)
I seldom find myself in such agreement with the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) and the hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Newens), both of whom have spoken from the opposite side of the House. Much of what they have said has tremendous force and should be listened to by the Minister before we conclude the debate.
The hon. Member for Putney has told us that the exemptions from planning control which are provided for under the General Envelopment Order, 1963, do not fill him with great enthusiasm. They do not fill me with great enthusiasm, either. I consider that they should be kept to the absolute minimum consistent with the fulfilment of the reasonable duties of the 254 statutory undertakings and that every time Ministers come forward with proposals to extend those reliefs, we should examine them carefully, not only from the viewpoint of constituency interests such as we have heard aired today, but from the wider aspect of the principles such as were outlined by the right hon. and learner Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), whose arguments had tremendous force.
The hon. Member for Putney hinted at a consequence of what might happen if we are willing to grant the Order to the Government. The Minister said in his opening speech that as a result of granting these exemptions under Class XVII, there would be no danger of a great increase in the number of flights. As the hon. Member has pointed out, however, if there are more buildings on an airport, the users will say that they are not able to meet the requirements of all those buildings to handle the number of passengers or the quantity of freight of which they are capable and that, therefore, they should be permitted a relaxation of the restrictions at present imposed on night flights. The Board of Trade would find those arguments difficult to resist when millions of £s are locked up in the capital expenditure which is permitted under the Order and the airlines and the British Airports Authority are losing money in consequence. The hon. Member had a valid argument there.
I absolutely agreed with the hon. Member for Epping when he said that we should not inhibit the growth of air traffic. Obviously, we have to cater for something like an 8 per cent. growth in the number of passengers and a 25 per cent. growth in the quantity of air freight per annum over the next 10 years or so. Recent figures outlined in The Times Business News this morning showed that this trend is expected by all the airlines to continue until at least 1980. Therefore, nothing that we do should inhibit the airport authorities and the airlines from expanding their capacity to bring this traffic into the United Kingdom.
That is not to say, however, that we should do this in an underhand and secret way by relaxing planning restrictions which are applicable to the rest of the population, and, indeed, to all other industrial enterprises which make an equal contribution to our balance of payments 255 and to the economic prosperity or the country.
We in this House do not say that because Rolls-Royce, for instance, makes a substantial contribution to our balance of payments, it should be allowed to put up buildings which are suitable for the testing of aircraft jet engines at Sinfin, Derby, or that the Royal Aircraft Establishment should be allowed to put up multi-storey buildings at Farnborough because of the enormous contribution which it makes to the country's earnings and the foreign exchange which is brought in as a result of the splendid developments of British technology—of course not. In the Order, however, it is, I think, implied that because the development of airports is so essential to the economic prosperity of the country, the British Airports Authority as a statutory undertaking should be exempted from some of the important restrictions which apply to the rest of the population.
I want to look for two minutes at how those exemptions compare with some of the others in the General Development Order, 1963, about which no one has said anything this afternoon. I refer to Class XVII, heading A, "Railway or light railway undertakings", of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order, 1963. I hope, incidentally, that the Minister of State, who does not represent the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, will be able to give me a reply to this. In passing, I think, it is rather unsatisfactory that the hon. Gentleman and not one of the Ministers responsible for planning should be replying to the debate, although I am pleased to see the recently-appointed Minister for Planning and Land sitting beside him and I hope that, even with his short experience of his Department, he will be able to give his hon. Friend some advice on this matter.
If we look at the type of buildings which are permitted to be developed by railway or light railway undertakings, we find that the exceptions include:any railway station or bridge, or…any residential building, office or building to be used for manufacturing or repairing work, which is not situated wholly within the interior of a railway station.Today's Order would permit the British Airports Authority to develop buildings for the use of passengers, freight or livestock 256 passing through an airport. Those buildings are analogous to buildings for the handling of passengers which are included in the designation of "railway stations" which are excepted from permitted development under the 1963 Order in Class XVII, Heading A.
To take another example—I shall not go the whole way through the Class XVII exemptions—permitted development for gas undertakings includesany…development carried out in, on, over or under operational land of the undertaking except:—There is no exception there. It is all buildings, of any character whatever, and not particular buildings which are required for the purposes of the gas undertaking.
- (a) the erection, or the reconstruction or alteration so as materially to affect the design or external appearance thereof, of buildings".
Exactly the same phrase appears under heading E in the case of electricity undertakings. The Minister of State will know the example which is given by the County Councils Association in the memorandum which, I think, has been sent to all hon. Members concerning docks and harbour undertakings. Therefore, I shall not repeat it.
That illustrates that the Order which is before us today is of a more sweeping character than any that we have hitherto considered under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1962. The exemptions which are to be permitted to the British Airports Authority go far beyond those of any other statutory undertaking. In this connection, I wish to draw attention to another factor which, unfortunately, has not been aired this afternoon, and for very good reasons—I can understand this—but it is a serious reason why the House should not give approval to the Order.
I refer to the fact that we have recently passed the Town and Country Planning Act, 1968, which materially affects the position of statutory undertakers, and yet that Act, which passed through this House and another place, has not yet been printed and at this moment is not available in the Vote Office. The Clauses in the Bill to which I should like to refer—I have not the faintest idea what numbers they will have as Sections when the Act is printed—are 257 Clauses 61 to 63 in the Bill as it left this House. These refer to new provisions as to what is operational land of statutory undertakers; planning applications and appeals by statutory undertakers; restrictions on entitlement of other undertakers, compensation for adverse planning decisions.
From these headings we can perceive that the Act will be of extreme, material importance to the consideration of this Order, and yet we are not able to get from the Vote Office copies of the Act as it has come back from another place. It is quite outrageous that the Government should have brought this Order before us this afternoon when we are not able to get the Bill which went from this place to another place and which may have been returned, indeed, but with material Amendments which we are not able to scrutinise while considering the Order which the Act affects.
However, if we take the Bill as it was when it left this House we find that the definition of "operational land" is modified by Clause—or Section—61 and that should affect our consideration of the Order. First of all, we have to consider, was the interest in land which is held by statutory undertakers held before the commencement of Section 61, or were the circumstances such that it did not fall to be treated as operational land for the purposes of the principal Act? Secondly, was the interest in this land acquired after the Section came into effect? If the answer to either of those questions is "Yes" then Section 61 applies. Then we have to ask, is there, or has there at some time been, in force in respect of the land a planning permission for its development, and would that development have involved the use of land for the purposes of carrying out a statutory undertaker's undertaking? Third, was the land used by other statutory undertakers for their purposes immediately before it was acquired by the present owner? If the answer to either of those questions is "Yes" the land is operational land.
I am sorry to have wearied the House with a summary of what is contained in Section 61 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1968, but I think the House will see in a moment why it is of tremendous importance in relation to this Order. Suppose that the British Airports 258 Authority were to acquire some land immediately in the neighbourhood of Heathrow, land which had previously belonged to British Rail and was operational land as defined for the latter's purposes, then it would become, under Section 61, operational land for the purposes of the British Airports Authority. Therefore, any development which is permitted by the General Development Order, 1963, under this Order would become exempt on that additional land which has been added to the periphery of Heathrow Airport.
One can see that it is, therefore, extremely important that we should have been able to consider this Order in relation to those Clauses or Sections 61 to 63, a little bit of which I have read out, but which, unfortunately, are not available to the House because this Order has been brought forward before we have had reprinted the Bill brought back from another place. I hope that the hon. Gentleman who replies to the debate will say why it has been necessary to bring this Order before the House in such haste that we have not had opportunity of considering the implications for it of the Act, because the latter is not available in the Vote Office.
I have studied the remarks made by the County Councils Association, and I gather that there are others which have been made by other local authority associations in a similar vein, I have listened very carefully to what the hon. Member for Epping said about local democracy and I absolutely agreed with him on that, and I appeal to the hon. Gentleman, the Minister of State—I do not know whether or not he has power to do this—when he winds up this debate please to be flexible; he must realise that if there were a free vote on this Order three-quarters of the House would be against him. He may raise his eyebrows, but it is a fact. Not only hon. Members who have airports in their constituencies but many others feel that the powers of local authorities are being seriously undermined as he makes this Order.
It has nothing to do with aircraft noise, the number of movements, the impingement of aircraft on local population. This has to do with the very foundations of the freedom of local authorities, and it is that which is at stake as the Minister makes this Order. If one is to permit the nibbling away 259 of the powers of the local authorities by the extension of the General Development Order, 1963, we do not know where the matter will stop. Next, Ministers will make similar orders for the railways, for docks and harbours, and other statutory undertakers listed in Part I of Schedule 1. Gradually these authorities will become totally exempt from planning control. The day that happens will be an extremely evil day for the country, not only for the local authorities but for the inhabitants of the places where these developments are likely to take place. So I appeal to the hon. Gentleman, before it is too late to reconsider this Order, and to give time for second thoughts. That, I am sure, would be very acceptable to the House as a whole.
§ 5.55 p.m.
§ Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)
Since our last debate along these lines we have had the privilege of visiting the Minister of State's office and listening to one of the solutions of the noise problem in action: we heard the RB211 mewing more gently than a cat. This is the line along which we will solve the problem of noise. By that method we shall in no way endanger the safety of aircraft or passengers. To me, the strange thing is that instead of using that engine ourselves we sold it to America. We have new aircraft coming along, and we pay lip-service to the need to having less noise in the operation of aircraft—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker rose—
§ Mr. Rankin
I was interposing this point for only a minute or two, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am the first individual, I think, to be thought out of order—and that is an injustice to Scotland, which is even worse than an injustice to Ireland. So I conclude the point by wondering why the Government sold that engine to America, £100 million of it, and did not keep one or two for our own use and so help to soothe the feelings of some hon. Members.
I have risen to speak on one point and one point only. I raised it at the very beginning of the debate. I was told what I expected I would be told, and what I knew already, that Scotland, of which I was speaking at the time, is excluded from the scope of this Order. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, 260 but Scotland is not necessarily excluded from the consequences of this Order, because this Order deals with the British Airports Authority, and while it is perfectly true that today we are covering only Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow, and that the two airports in Scotland which now come under the control of the Authority, Prestwick and Edinburgh, are not mentioned in the Order. I was told what I had already found out. There is to be another order for Scotland when we can debate the future of Edinburgh and Prestwick. But are we in Scotland taken for people so simple as to believe that decisions which are taken today about Heathrow and Gatwick and Stansted will not apply to Prestwick and to Edinburgh?
They are all part of the British Airports Authority. Everything that we say and do and decide about the Authority will apply when we come to deal with the Scottish Order—[Interruption.] If my hon. Friend thinks differently, we will hear what the answer is from the Minister. I will ask for the assurance—oh! It is another Minister. This is one of the puzzles. Already we have four Ministers in active or semi-active control of aviation affairs and my right hon. Friend appears for the first time, as the fifth.
§ Mr. Rankin
Then I do not know who is to reply. I take it that it will be the Minister responsible for aviation affairs, and I want an assurance from him that in due course, when we come to discuss the Scottish Order, we will be as free to discuss that Order as English Members are now in discussing this Order. The British Airports Authority has stepped into Scotland and taken over operational control of Prestwick, because the Americans gave it up; and of Turnhouse because Edinburgh Corporation could not make it a paying proposition.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harry Gourlay)
Order. The hon. Gentleman must address his remarks to the Order before the House, and not discuss the Scottish position.
§ Mr. Rankin
I will not go too far. I simply hope that we will be as free to discuss the Order relating to Scotland as hon. Members have been free to discuss this Order tonight. I hope that the 261 Minister on duty will report to the Minister responsible for aviation that we expect this to be so.
§ 6.3 p.m.
§ Captain Walter Elliot (Carshalton)
I will not repeat the arguments made against this Order by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House. I have been approached by the Surrey County Council because it has anxieties as to the effect of the Order, and I want to register my opposition to it. Stansted Airport is most important, but in Surrey there is Gatwick Airport. When it was made into one of the London Airports that had a very great effect on the beautiful surrounding countryside. I have no doubt that this Order will have an even greater effect. There is also the position of Heathrow, which also affects Surrey.
It is a great pity that, for this Order, it is necessary to divide the House on party lines. I suppose that it is inevitable. It increasingly happens. It is a great pity, as hon. Members opposite have said, because the Minister has been badly advised. He said earlier that the Airports Authority would be able to get on with developments without unnecessary formality. I suppose that that is a remark that a great many organisations would make. There is a feeling that public authorities might act more responsibly and might be more careful of general amenity and other considerations which affect the public good.
More often than not, when the House divides on such a subject, the opposite side take the view that this is so while this side of the House takes a contrary view. I can only speak for my own constituency, much of which is in Green Belt. At present public authorities have produced plans for slashing through the countryside with great motorways. I do not believe that public authorities are more responsible and more careful of general amenities when it suits them not to be so.
The Minister said that he also wanted to open the debate because his good faith had been called into question. I do not know what on earth gave him that idea, and I am sure that no one in the House doubts his good faith for a moment, particularly when he says that he would consider with sympathy objections raised against any proposals. We 262 are absolutely certain that he would consider these objections sympathetically. He also said that the Authority would give certain assurances. All that is not good enough. What I, and I am sure what we all want to do, is to provide for the future, when other Ministers, from whatever side of the House, are in power, when this debate is forgotten, and it is convenient to allow developments to take place which will greatly affect local areas and their inhabitants. That is the important point, made forcibly by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), and for that reason I hope that the Government will withdraw the Order.
§ 6.9 p.m.
§ Mr. James Allason (Hemel Hempstead)
What we are discussing is whether there is a need to grant special planning powers to the British Airports Authority. The argument runs that there are certain exemptions of planning powers to statutory undertakers and, as the Authority is a statutory undertaker, it should have similar powers. The Ministry has probably looked at the Order in relation to the docks and other similar undertakings when framing these matters.
However an airport is something very different from a dock. With docks there are exemptions on structures or erections required for the handling of traffic, but not on bridges or other buildings. It is clear that the Government have taken that into consideration in framing this Order. But they have gone much wider for three reasons which have already been mentioned: noise, employment and traffic problems.
It must be recognised that an airport has a licence to spread noise over an enormous area. This is a matter which should be considered on planning and health grounds, but not solely by the Board of Trade. Noise is thoroughly objectionable. Therefore, a proper consideration of planning should be whether an airport has a licence to spread even further noise.
Concerning the further expansion of an airport in relation to employment, it is not only employment within the airfield. Outside the airfield various service industries grow up. An international airfield can produce an enormous employment potential. Therefore, it is wrong 263 that the Airports Authority should have the right to decide, where an airport is to be expanded, that employment shall be expanded. This runs over into regional planning. It is wrong that this should be a matter for the Board of Trade and not for regional planning.
It is surely wrong that the British Airports Authority can suddenly generate a vast volume of traffic and say to the local traffic authorities and the Ministry of Transport, "We have created a problem. You have to solve it." Here again, proper planning should come about.
The question is whether the Order entitles the British Airports Authority to make a considerable extentions to an airport. It can be argued that because runways and non-operational buildings are excluded—that is, that the Airports Authority cannot grant to itself planning permission for those matters—this will limit the size of the airfield. I do not agree.
On runways, take the example of Stansted. The capacity number of aircraft movements last year was 33,000 against a theoretical capacity of 150,000. The number was limited because the other facilities at the airfield were inadequate. Therefore, it is clearly not the provision of runways. Taking that out of the exemption does not mean that the size of the airfield is thereby limited.
The Minister was asked to explain what "non-operational buildings" meant. The only explanation that I heard from him was that they referred to such matters as hangars which would be built by airlines. However, that does not stop the Airports Authority building a hangar and leasing it to the airport. It does not stop much greater use of the airfield where servicing is done at another, which is not unknown. Therefore, I do not think that either because of runways or non-operational buildings there is any limitation preventing the British Airports Authority from considerably expanding an airport in its control.
We have heard that various undertakings have been given by the British Airports Authority. But, as my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) said, it is unsatisfactory to legislate on the basis of granting certain powers and 264 then receiving an undertaking that those powers will not be used. This is a ridiculous form of legislation and it must be wrong.
Taking this Order at its face value, it is clearly thoroughly bad planning to give the right to grant planning permission to the British Airports Authority, giving it the possibility of disrupting the area in which it operates and of disrupting the local population over a large area.
Both the Town and Country Planning Act and the Skeffington Committee have insisted on public participation in planning. If we give the right to grant planning permission to the Airports Authority we are going against what has been said this year by the Government about their intentions concerning planning. Public participation in planning is what we want to achieve, but it is being negatived here. Surely, not only responsible authorities but the public are having their rights withdrawn, so this Order must be wrong.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Terence Boston (Faversham)
I agree with what has been said about it being absolutely necessary for us to debate this Order today. I feel sure that we would have heard a great deal less, particularly from the benches opposite, had the debate on this Order not been taking place within the general context of, and at the same time as, the Roskill Commission.—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I do not think that there is any doubt about the sensitivity of the Government and my right hon. and hon. Friends towards planning matters. The recent Town and Country Planning Act speaks for itself in that respect—[Interruption.] The unfortunate thing about right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite is that they so often find the truth unpalatable. There is no doubt about the sensitivity—[Interruption.] I have only a few minutes. Perhaps I may develop my first two or three sentences. There is no doubt about the sensitivity of the Government on matters of this kind.
I support what has been said by, among others, my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Blenkinsop) about it being wrong, when considering statutory authorities, to place the British Airports Authority at a disadvantage. It has been 265 suggested that airport development, at least in the southern part of the country, is to some extent sub judice whilst the Roskill Commission is sitting. At the same time, I feel bound to say that there is no question whatever, I would hope, of putting a total freeze upon all kinds of airport development during this period. We have to face constant growing competition from European countries for air traffic and this country certainly cannot afford to be left behind in this regard. This being so, even whilst the Roskill Commission is sitting, there must be a certain amount of airport development, and I think it would be wrong to hamper the British Airports Authority. This would be the inevitable result of opposing and not proceeding with this Order.
I said that I felt we would not have heard so much about this Order had it not been taking place at the same time as the Roskill Commission is sitting. I feel strongly that that is the case. Indeed, I think that there has been a deliberate attempt to excite public suspicion and feeling in some parts of the country concerning this Order. I think that those concerned in the Stansted area have now taken the argument so far that they have begun to overplay their hand and lose the public sympathy which they undoubtedly had up until the time that my right hon. Friend announced that there was to be a Commission of Inquiry into the third London Airport.
There can be no question whatsover—and I should have thought this was plain to everyone—of an attempt to develop the third London Airport by the back door. The right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) said in opening the debate that he accepted the good faith of the British Airports Authority, and I accept what he said, but some of his hon. Friends, particularly in statements reported in The Times, have been doing their best to encourage suspicions about this sort of thing. Either one accepts the good faith of the Authority, or one is naive in supposing that there can be any sort of back door development of the third London Airport. Quite clearly, while the Roskill Commission is sitting there can be no question of proceeding along those lines. Because of the points made by my right hon. Friend in opening the debate about the strict limits in the Order with regard 266 to runways being excluded, including extensions to existing runways, I am convinced that there is no question of any back door development. My right hon. Friend was also very reassuring about the question of consultation.
I can understand the concern of my hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Newens) who talked about financial investment, but nobody can possibly imagine that a decision on the third London airport will depend on the few million pounds worth of investment that is likely to take place, to put it at its extreme. Quite clearly, a matter of this kind will not be decided on the basis of the limited amount of money which is likely to be expended in developments of this kind.
Having said that I regard it as necessary for this debate to have taken place, I very much regret, as do my constituents and others in Kent, the spurious arguments which have been used, and the spurious suspicions which have been aroused over this matter.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Walter Clegg (North Fylde)
Having listened to the hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. Boston), I find that his contribution to the debate is different from that which has come from the back benches on both sides of the House. The hon. Gentleman seems to accept fully what his Front Bench has said, and he has called into question the motives of hon. Members on this side of the House. He implied that we were not concerned with the Town and Country Planning Act because we were not interested in reading it. The point made by the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) was that it was not available for us to read if we wanted to.
I should like to take up the point made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon), that this Order goes against much of the debate and feeling which inspired the Town and Country Planning Act. As one who served on the Standing Committee, I support that view, because throughout the debate in Committee there was a tremendous demand from both sides—and, to be fair to Ministers, it must be said that they tried to help—that there should be more public participation in planning decisions.
267 This Order is a retrograde step because it is very much wider in its application than anything which applies to private industry. If hon. Gentlemen opposite care to check what private industry has to do in similar circumstances, they will be very much surprised at the result.
What I am afraid of, and what the Order brings out, is that all the trendy talk about participation is just so much eyewash. Little has been said about the presence or non-presence of Ministers. As I understand it, the Minister concerned with participation is the Paymaster-General. I think that the right hon. Lady might have been here to listen to the debate and to find out how many hon. Members are concerned about this kind of Order which makes the possibility of participation so much less likely.
One of the considerations which has urged me to speak is that until a few days ago I thought that having a constituency about 250 miles from London meant that I was somewhat remote from the possibility of having the third London Airport, but when I returned to my constituency the other day I discovered that that very suggestion had been made. I therefore thought that I would attend the debate to hear what was said, especially by my hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Kirk).
It is interesting to note that when the County Councils' Association and others were first approached about the form the Order should take the Departmental letter described the Order asthe minimum needed for the provision and efficient working of the services for which the Authority are responsible.Those are pretty strong terms, but we know that already a change has been made, in that runways have been taken out, and planning permission has to be obtained for those. If "minimum" did not mean what it said on that occasion, then, when the Minister says the Authority needs the power which the Order seeks to give it, I think we must beg leave to doubt that, because originally more was wanted.
These powers are tremendously wide. I am thinking, in particular, of the power to place noisy maintenance units close to the edge of the aerodrome, which could have a profound effect on people in the vicinity. That could have a much more profound effect than some other 268 matters with which other statutory undertakers have to comply.
Quite apart from the arguments which have been put forward about the location of airports, I think that we should be concerned with the people living around the present airports, because these wide powers can affect their everyday lives. The hon. Member for Faversham seems to believe that undertakings and statements by Ministers are sufficient. It has been said that nobody questions the good faith of Ministers. I agree with that, but Ministers change, and I do not see why the people of this country should not have their rights enshrined in the law, rather than leave matters to Ministerial discretion. For that reason more than any other I shall vote against the Order.
§ 6.28 p.m.
§ Mr. F. V. Corfield (Gloucestershire, South)
Until the hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. Boston) spoke, the Minister had received hardly a whisper of support for the Order. Indeed, two of his hon. Friends made it clear that they had heard no justification for the Order, and would not support the Minister in the Lobby. The hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Blenkinsop) damned the Order with faint praise. He said that it was all right except for the bits about which we were talking.
Apart from the concern which arises because of the background to all this, because of all the fuss over Stansted, which is perfectly justified, and because, too, the Roskill Commission is now sitting, there are strong objections to this Order because of the width of the powers which it seeks to confer on the British Airports Authority. Several of my hon. Friends have referred to the fact that the powers to be conferred on the Authority by this Order are very substantially wider than those conferred on any other statutory undertaking.
The hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) made it clear that in most other cases buildings are not included as permitted development and that even where they are, and even where plant is concerned, in all cases except those of railways there is a height limit. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) made it clear that the powers now conferred do not fit into any of the categories that have formerly been regarded 269 as covering this sort of permitted development. In particular, he made the point that these functions of the British Airports Authority will require to be exercised only occasionally. They will not clog up any planning machine in terms of applications for planning permission. The Authority was created in 1965, and has been carrying out great extensions to London Airport. There has been no evidence that the Authority has been prejudiced by the lack of this Order.
What is the Minister's case? What is his answer to the anxious questions that have been put? He admits quite honestly that concern does exist, and he appreciates the reason for it. He says that Article 4 provides the answer. The Authority has given an undertaking that it will consult local planning authorities and give them two months to make their representations. At the end of that time, if there is a dispute, the only remedy available to the local planning authority is to apply for an Article 4 direction. If the Minister is satisfied that there is a prima facie case in favour of the local planning authority he will presumably approve the Article 4 direction.
Then there will doubtless be a straight planning refusal, so that there will have to be a planning appeal, which will mean that a period of about four months is lost. Is that in the interests of the development of British aviation? By rewording the Order we could bring the permitted development into the categories mentioned by my right hon. and learned Friend so that it covers emergency matters involved in day-to-day maintenance and repair but not major matters covering virtually all buildings that the Authority is likely to require, which should be left to ordinary planning procedures.
Mention has been made of Circular 100, which operated up to the time when the three airports ceased to be under the control of the Ministry of Aviation, as it then was. That circular provided a reasonable alternative to the ordinary planning procedures in cases where the Crown was concerned. The Acts do not bind the Crown, but Government Departments have, under the circular, agreed, first, to consult local planning authorities and, secondly, where there is a dispute, to accept the ruling of the Minister of 270 Housing and Local Government. In effect, in a dispute of this sort that Minister performs virtually the same rôle as in deciding an appeal from a private individual against a refusal of planning permission.
As soon as these airports were put into the control of the Authority, that safeguard went. We now have a situation in which, despite all the undertakings, the Authority is completely its own master, legally, in developing one of the three airports—and we think of Stansted, not only because of the background but because, of all the airports in the South-East, it has the greatest potential for expansion without extending a runway.
If hon. Members will bear in mind the fact that one of the major spheres in which development is taking place in aviation is in short take-off and landing, they will realise that the length of the existing runway becomes even less of a limitation than it is at the moment. Even with present aircraft which can be operated in and out of Stansted it is possible to run with up to 150,000 movements a year. This alters the whole pattern of aerodromes in this part of England. Stansted, in terms of aircraft movement, is much below Southend and Luton, but it is capable, without any runway extension, to expansion well beyond the capacity of either of those airports. It is naive of the hon. Member for Faversham to consider that when public money is put into these things it does not influence the final decision.
Let us consider the other safeguards upon which the Minister asked us to rely. He said, first, that the President of the Board of Trade would not authorise the necessary capital expenditure to expand Stansted to any extent. The Authority is one of the few bits of nationalised industry that are making a handsome profit, and it may not want its capital expenditure authorised. It has made about £10 million a year, and that would go a long way in respect of constructing the sort of installations required at Stansted. The only limitation to expanding operations at Stansted is the provision of passenger and freight handing facilities.
We were told that the Authority has no intention of expanding this airport. I do not suspect its assurances, but not only Ministers change; chairmen of 271 nationalised industries change. Above all, circumstances change, and it may at some future time be the duty of the Authority to change its intentions, because it has a statutory duty to carry out certain functions under the Act. We cannot rely on that sort of statement, which may well be true for today but is not necessarily true for tomorrow.
We have been given assurances about consultations. If we have to rely on such assurances—which I am sure have been given in good faith—that itself constitutes the most damning indictment of the inadequacies of the Order, because we are dealing with a legislative order—something which forms part of the law. It ought to be possible—it has always been done in the past—so to draft orders of this sort that the carrying out of the strict legal obligations is in itself a sufficient safeguard, and an answer to all these planning problems and the anxieties of the people concerned, without there being a need for all these extra assurances.
I beg the right hon. Gentleman to take this order back. I have no doubt that the Whips will succeed in producing enough votes to steamroller it through the House, but the right hon. Gentleman has lost the debate. Let him take the order back and recognise that in doing so he will at least be doing something to restore the confidence that the introduction of this order has destroyed, not only in the House but throughout the country, and especially in those areas which are vitally affected.
We were told, as the last two safeguards, first, that the Minister has powers to remove the right to compensation if planning permission is eventually refused—and we had all the rigmarole about Article 4 direction appeals, and so on—and then that the lessees of property will be subject to planning control. As the hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Newens) said, nothing in the Airports Authority Act prevents the Authority's developing a building and then leasing it complete. It is not obliged to lease the land and then leave it to the lessee to apply for planning permission. In certain circumstances the former course might be the most convenient.
272 I want to refer to the differences between this statutory undertaking and all the others mentioned in the Order of 1963. There cannot be any function with a bigger ramification over a wider area in respect of the lives of people in the neighbourhood. The hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) has once again reminded us—if we needed reminding—of the appalling noise problem that arises with modern airports. I do not go with him entirely in saying that the only factor of importance is the number of people affected. It is no great consolation for one person in 20 to know that he might have been one person in 300.
However that may be, we have noise nuisance in three forms—its total amount, its intensity, which grows greater with certain types of aircraft, and the lengthening of the period over which that nuisance is suffered. We understand from the chairman of the B.A.A. that it is intended to use Stansted, for example, 24 hours out of the 24. This is surely something which the planning authorities should have some means of controlling or at least making representations about.
Then we have the well-known and very substantial effect of an airport of this sort, if it were to expand substantially, on employment, and therefore on housing, and therefore on the location of schools and the provision of many other services. Of course, the mere increase in employment, as well as the increase in aircraft movements, adds enormously to road traffic problems and can affect the whole pattern of highways—not merely in that particular local planning authority's area, but indeed throughout the region.
I therefore suggest to the Minister that this is a peculiarly inappropriate set of powers to give this particular body. This is not because I suspect the integrity of any individual. It so happens that the nature of the beast, the B.A.A., is quite different from the nature of all these other statutory undertakings, and it is a difference which will have far-reaching effects on the planning proposals and development in the immediate neighbourhood of any airport.
I should like to put one or two questions. First, is there any evidence that the B.A.A. has been prejudiced by a lack of this Order over the last three years? 273 Why is it that three of its airports are to be treated differently from the fourth? What is to happen to Prestwick and why should it be treated differently? Why was it necessary to produce this Order in the Recess? As the hon. Member for Orpington asked, was it really necessary for us to discuss this without being able to lay our hands on the completed and printed edition of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1968? That Act is clearly important, because all these powers are governed by what is "operation land". Within the short time at his disposal, the hon. Gentleman was at some pains to explain that this is not exactly simple and straightforward.
The next question is, what are these "other buildings", which will come under control? I cannot think of a single building likely to be put up by the B.A.A. which is not a building…required in connection with the movement or maintenance of aircraft or with the embarking, disembarking, loading, discharge or transport of passengers, livestock or goods at an aerodrome…".I cannot think of a building for which it would not be possible to make a very good case for it coming into that category. After all, even public lavatories are required for that sort of thing. It is nonsense to say that this exception means anything, because the exception to the exception is wider than the exception.
Finally, I want to underline what my hon. Friend the Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) said. The Government are in danger of completely destroying any confidence which they have built up by having at last—we think after a great deal of obstinacy, but, nevertheless, at last—changed their minds over that original Stansted decision, for which the present President of the Board of Trade deserves some credit, and appointing the Roskill Commission. We very much welcome both its appointment and terms of reference and the methods of its procedure. But to bring this Order forward is to undermine that confidence which is so important to it. Lack of confidence is not something which I want to rejoice about from this side, because it is a lack of confidence in Government and Parliament and not merely in the Labour Party.
I beg the Minister to think again, to take this back and bring it forward again with a very much tighter new paragraph 274 (a), remembering that, as it stands, it is a bad Order, it is an unnecessary Order, and it succeeds only in a monumental achievement of thoroughly bad public relations.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. William Rodgers)
In the debate today we have been dealing with two separate, though related, questions. The first concerns the whole principle of a general development Order and the proper powers of statutory bodies. On this, I cannot reasonably add much more to the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing, although I hope that I will deal with some of the points which have been raised. I must make it clear that there are areas of policy here that it is right that we should discuss from time to time. As he said, and as my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Blenkinsop) endorsed, the scope of Orders of this kind can obviously be a matter for argument. There is a need—I would not dispute this—for continued Parliamentary vigilance.
The second question concerns the future of Stansted—
§ Sir D. Walker-Smith
Before he leaves that point, will the hon. Gentleman, in the context of this Order, answer particularly the third question which has just been put to him, that is to say, give his interpretation of the exception to the exception within this Order:…not being buildings required in connection with the movement or maintenance of aircraft or with the embarking, disembarking, loading, discharge or transport of passengers, livestock or goods at an aerodrome…Will he define what buildings he thinks could be put up within that definition and what he thinks could not be put up which they might desire to put up?
§ Mr. Rodgers
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be patient, I hope that I will deal, if not with all the points made in the debate, with the majority of them; but time is short. As I said, I intend to pick them up as far as possible in the course of my speech. It is right, whatever the right hon. and learned Gentleman may say, that, as the future of Stansted is the occasion for this debate—I noted closely here the reasonable speech of the hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Kirk), and the vigorous 275 stand taken by my hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Newens)—as Stansted is the occasion for this debate.
§ Mr. Rippon
No, with respect, it is not the occasion. It is one of the gravest causes for anxiety, but all the local authority associations, and the Surrey County Council, feel equally strongly about the principle of the Order.
§ Mr. Rodgers
Nothing which the right hon. and learned Gentleman says detracts from what I have said, that, whatever the breadth of our debate, the starting point—and this would not be disputed by one who has studied the Press over the last fortnight—is the feeling that this pre-empts the decision of the Roskill Commission.
§ Mr. Kirk indicated assent.
§ Mr. Rodgers
I am glad to see the hon. Member nodding—not denying that wider issues are involved, but agreeing that the occasion is Stansted—
§ Mr. Lubbock rose—
§ Mr. Rodgers
No, I will not give way. I have given way twice already and I have only 15 minutes in which to make my speech—
§ Mr. Lubbock rose—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. If the hon. Gentleman does not give way he must be allowed to continue his speech.
§ Mr. Rodgers
I intend as far as possible to deal with the Stansted question, but I intend to touch on some other matters in passing. Among these is the point of the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock), when he raised an interesting question and linked it to the 1968 Act. I must make two things clear. The fact that the Act is not yet available is due to the problem which Her Majesty's Stationery Office has faced, with the rush of legislation which received the Royal Assent a short time ago. As the hon. Gentleman will understand, this is not a matter for my Department or for that of my right hon. Friend, and I am sure that his point, which is perfectly fair, has been noted.
Second, he asked—I was rather surprised that the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, South (Mr. Corfield) 276 should endorse this—why we should have this debate so soon. I must make it clear that this is a Supply Day and that the time of the debate is something for the Opposition and not for the Government.
§ Mr. Corfield
On a point or order. This is a Prayer and therefore we are confined to the time allotted after the Order is laid.
§ Mr. Rodgers
There is plenty of time for this debate to have taken place at a later stage. The fact that it is taking place today is due to a decision of the Opposition, taken in the normal way for business on a Supply Day.
§ Mr. Lubbock
May I remind the hon. Member that the County Councils Association in its memorandum, a copy of which he has no doubt received, states that it has never been the case that the Association is concerned that the new Order will be used to by-pass the Roskill Commission on the location of London's third airport. Will he therefore cease giving the impression that this debate is entirely about Stansted and turn to wider issues?
§ Mr. Rodgers
I did not say, and the record will show that I did not say, that this debate is entirely about Stansted. I said that the occasion for this debate was concern—and I admitted that it was a proper public concern—with the danger that the decisions of the Roskill Commission might be pre-empted. That is why I wish to turn for the greater part of my speech to the situation about Stansted.
When in February the Government reopened the question of the siting of the third London Airport, there was no suggestion that Stansted should be placed in some kind of deep freeze and that it should be exempted from the effects of the inexorable growth of air traffic in the South-East. The hon. Member for Saffron Walden was very fair in admitting that this was the case.
Pending the long-term solution, it is reasonable that Stansted should take its share of this growth, as well as hard-pressed Heathrow, to say nothing of its surrounding population, Gatwick, Luton, 277 Southend and other minor aerodromes—that is, provided that the development of Stansted in no way pre-empts the decision on the third London airport. The extent of this growth over the next few years will clearly depend upon demand and the physical availability of facilities. Demand is, admittedly, not easy to assess. It depends on the commercial judgments of airlines, and their fortunes, and the general trend of air traffic.
However, the best judgment that we, and the British Airports Authority, can form is that air transport movements at Stansted will increase from 2,600 a year at present to about 5,000 in 1972, that is about two years after the time that the Roskill Commission is expected to report. Expressed as a percentage, this rate of growth is relatively high, but it is a percentage increase applied to what in aviation terms is a very small starting figure. The 5,000 movements expected at Stansted in 1972 may be contrasted with the present annual figures of air transport movements at Heathrow of 230,000, Gatwick 38,000, Glasgow 34,500, Manchester 35,000 and Luton short of 8,000.
In addition, Stansted attracts at present some 28,000 testing and training flights a year, together with some 7,500 movements attributable to private and official flights, or some 35,500 non-air transport movements in all. The growth in this class of traffic, which makes little demand on ground facilities, is difficult to predict but is unlikely to exceed 45,000 in 1972.
Thus—and this is the nub of our discussion as it relates to Stansted—as regards all types of movement the increase will be from about 38,000 at present to about 50,000 in 1972.
As regards the other possible restraint on growth, the capacity of the passenger terminal building, it is here that the figure of 5,000 air transport movements by 1972 is relevant, not the total movements inflated by the large element of testing and training flights. The Essex County Council—I hope that the House will note this—despite their continuing opposition to the development of the third London airport at Stansted, having fairly and responsibly recognised the need to cater for some growth and have given the Authority planning permission to erect a small passenger terminal estimated to cost about £250,000. The hon. Member 278 for Saffron Walden referred to the present situation of Stansted as an areonautical slum. I agree with him. This new development will enable the Authority to remove a collection of Nissen huts which are an eyesore to everybody who visits the airport.
This terminal is designed to handle 600 passengers—300 in each direction—in an hour, as against the Gatwick terminal's figure of 3,400 passengers at one time and Heathrow's 7,500. To put it another way, a rough estimate is that the Stansted terminal should be able to handle 400,000 passengers a year, as against the present figure of 130,000, which compares with 13 million at Heathrow, two million at Gatwick, well over one million at Manchester, much the same at Glasgow and about 400,000 at Luton.
Thus the new and approved terminal should be able to cater for all the expected Stansted traffic for some years to come, and at least until 1972. I have spoken to Mr. Masefield within the last half hour. I referred him to page 63 of his Report and asked him, as the Government were asked this afternoon, what further expansion he has in mind. He made it perfectly clear that he does not expect any need before 1974—except, perhaps, for a duty-free shop—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—that is, no further development of the terminal building before 1974.
At this point I might stop, on the ground that speculation is irrelevant, because it is so clear that there is no question at all of the sort of development of Stansted, before we have the recommendations of the Roskill Commission, which has been suggested in some quarters. But because there is some misapprehension about this, let us just suppose that the B.A.A., after all, decided that they wanted some significant new facilities.
The position now—in the light of the undertaking given by the B.A.A., which my right hon. Friend has given to the House—is as follows: The B.A.A. would first consult the local planning authority giving it two months to comment—and plenty of time for public discussion. If the planning authority objected, it could make an Article 4 direction. If my right hon. Friend then confirmed this direction, the normal planning procedures, 279 including, if necessary, a public inquiry would be invoked. Finally—this undertaking was further given this afternoon—if the original intention of the B.A.A. were frustrated and they were refused permission to develop, no question of compensation could arise. In my view, in all these circumstances, the safeguards seem to be pretty watertight.
My right hon. Friend spelt out six clear safeguards which I hope will, on reflection, reassure many of those who have feared that this Order would lead to the backdoor development of Stansted and the outflanking, at least in spirit, of the Roskill Commission. The first relates to the powers of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade. Irrespective of where the capital may come from, he must authorise any capital expenditure for other than very minor developments. He has given a clear commitment that he does not intend to do so in the period before the Roskill Commission reports.
I have the greatest sympathy, as have both of my right hon. Friends, with the need to recognise the wide implications of the growth of air traffic, especially up to the point, perhaps 10 years ahead, when a new generation of aircraft will take over—a good deal quieter, we hope, as a result of the leadership which Britain has given internationally on noise certification. The need in this—a central issue which should have been in our minds today—is to strike a reasonable balance which will take full account of amenity but not, at the same time, check the development of a civil aviation industry which is vital to this country's prosperity and which must be safe in its operating methods.
A week ago we learned with regret of the collapse of one of our major independent airlines. It is not the Government's wish to see the industry, private and public, in difficulties through operating in an environment in which it cannot succeed. There are many factors here, but we must be aware that restrictions on flying or the inadequacy of airport facilities are relevant. It should be borne in mind that one of our remaining independents, Channel Airways, moved to Stansted precisely to make its jet operations more economic. The defence of amenity could not be taken to the 280 point where aircraft were effectively grounded, any more than the demands of aviation could be allowed to prevail to the point where they made life hardly worth living.
Although Essex County Council did not initially see the necessity for establishing a consultative committee at Stansted, it has agreed with the British Airports Authority that this would now be desirable. The Authority and Essex County Council are now deciding on the local authority membership of the committee, and it is hoped that the first meeting will be held in the near future. I welcome this, as I hope the whole House does.
I am inclined to the view that despite some of the acrimony caused by the wider issues which have been in the minds of some hon. Members, there is no essential dispute on this question of balance either across the Floor of the House or between the interests within each party. If we concede that there is a need for balance, perhaps we see the position better now, and where the balance should be struck.
§ Mr. Lubbock rose—
§ Mr. Rodgers
—to answer all the questions that have been asked to the satisfaction—[Interruption.]—of all hon. Members.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) must not argue by giving a running commentary.
§ Mr. Rodgers
The hon. Member for Orpington had an opportunity of speaking earlier in the debate.
In so far as points have been made which have not been answered, I assure the House that we shall endeavour to ensure that the hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members are completely satisfied. It would be testing the tolerance of the 281 House were I to seek to deal with all the points that have been raised, many of them going a great deal wider than the Order and many of them not bearing on the real matters at stake.
The Government have taken note of all that has been said, including the general feeling of the House about future airport development. I hope that, in return, a sense of proportion will prevail and that, given the clear explanations of the intentions and limitations of the
§ Order, and bearing in mind its purpose, the House will support it.
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Town and Country Planning General Development (Amendment) Order 1968 (S.I., 1968, No. 1623), dated 14th October, 1968, a copy of which was laid before this House on 21st October, in the last session of Parliament, be annulled:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 218, Noes 287.283
|Division No. 5]||AYES||[7.6 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Fisher, Nigel||MacArthur, Ian|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Mackenzie, Alasdair(Ross&Crom'ty)|
|Astor, John||Fortescue, Tim||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Foster, Sir John||McMaster, Stanley|
|Awdry, Daniel||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||McNair-Wilson, Patrick|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Maginnis, John E.|
|Balniel, Lord||Gibson-Watt, David||Maude, Angus|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Giles, Rear-Adm. Morgan||Mawby, Ray|
|Batsford, Brian||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Bell, Ronald||Glover, Sir Douglas||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Glyn, Sir Richard||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. &Fhm)||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Gower, Raymond||Monro, Hector|
|Biffen, John||Grant, Anthony||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Grant-Ferris, R.||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Gresham Cooke, R.||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)|
|Blaker, Peter||Grimond Rt. Hn. J.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.)||Gurden, Harold||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Body, Richard||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Murton, Oscar|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Neave, Airey|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Braine, Bernard||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Brewis, John||Hastings, Stephen||Onslow, Cranley|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hawkins, Paul||Orr, Capt. L. P. S|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col.Sir Walter||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Heseltine, Michael||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Bryan, Paul||Higgins, Terence L.||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus, N&M)||Hiley, Joseph||Pardoe, John|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Hill, J. E. B.||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hirst, Geoffrey||Percival, Ian|
|Burden, F. A.||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)||Holland, Philip||Pounder, Rafton|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hordern, Peter||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Hornby, Richard||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Howell, David (Guildford)||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hunt, John||Pym, Francis|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Clark, Henry||Iremonger, T. L.||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Clegg, Walter||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Cooke, Robert||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Corfield, F. V.||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Costain, A. P.||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Jopling, Michael||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Crouch, David||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Kershaw, Anthony||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Currie, G. B. H.||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kirk, Peter||Royle, Anthony|
|Dance, James||Kitson, Timothy||Russell, sir Ronald|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Knight, Mrs. Jill||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Dean, Paul||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Lane, David||Scott, Nicholas|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Doughty, Charles||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Sharples, Richard|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn Sir Alec||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)||Silvester, Frederick|
|Eden, Sir John||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Loveys, W. H.||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Eyre, Reginald||Lubbock, Eric||Speed, Keith|
|Farr, John||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Stainton, Keith|
|Stodart, Anthony||Vickers, Dame Joan||Winstanley, Dr. M. P.|
|Summers, Sir Spencer||Walker, Peter (Worcester)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)||Wall, Patrick||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Walters, Dennis||Worsley, Marcus|
|Teeling, Sir William||Ward, Dame Irene||Wright, Esmond|
|Temple, John M.||Weatherill, Bernard||Wylie, N. R.|
|Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Tilney, John||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|van Straubenzee, W. R.||Williams, Donald (Dudley)||Mr. R. W. Elliott and|
|Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)||Mr. Jasper More.|
|Abse, Leo||Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Eadie, Alex||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Alldritt, Walter||Edelman, Maurice||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)|
|Alfen, Scholefield||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Anderson, Donald||Ellis, John||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)|
|Archer, Peter||English, Michael||Judd, Frank|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Ennals, David||Kelley, Richard|
|Ashley, Jack||Ensor, David||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw)||Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Evans, Gwynfor (C'marthen)||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Faulds, Andrew||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Fernyhough, E.||Lawson, George|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Finch, Harold||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Barnes, Michael||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Ledger, Ron|
|Barnett, Joel||Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir Eric(Islington, E.)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)|
|Baxter, William||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)|
|Beaney, Alan||Foot, Rt. Hn. Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Lee, John (Reading)|
|Bence, Cyril||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Lestor, Miss Joan|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Ford, Ben||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Binns, John||Forrester, John||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)|
|Blackburn, F.||Fowler, Gerry||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Loughlin, Charles|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Freeson, Reginald||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)|
|Booth, Albert||Galpern, Sir Myer||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Boston, Terence||Gardner, Tony||Mabon Dr. J. Dickon|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Garrett, W. E.||McBride, Neil|
|Boyden, James||Ginsburg, David||MacColl, James|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||MacDermot, Niall|
|Bradley, Tom||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Macdonald, A. H.|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||McGuire, Michael|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Gregory, Arnold||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Brown, Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Buchan, Norman||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hamling, William||Manuel, Archie|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hannan, Willam||Mapp, Charles|
|Cant, R. B.||Harper, Joseph||Marks, Kenneth|
|Carmichael, Neil||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Marquand, David|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Chapman, Donald||Haseldine, Norman||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy|
|Coe, Denis||Hazell, Bert||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Coleman, Donald||Heffer, Eric S.||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Concannon, J. D.||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Mendelson, John|
|Conian, Bernard||Hilton, W. S.||Mikardo, Ian|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hobden, Dennis||Millan, Bruce|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hooley, Frank||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Horner, John||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Cronin, John||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Molloy, William|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Moonman, Eric|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Howie, W.||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Hoy, James||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Huckfield, Leslie||Neal, Harold|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Angelsey)||Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby, S.)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)||Norwood, Christopher|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Ogden, Eric|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||O'Malley, Brian|
|Delargy, Hugh||Hunter, Adam||Orbach, Maurice|
|Dempsey, James||Hynd, John||Orme, Stanley|
|Dewar, Donald||Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)|
|Dickens, James||Janner, Sir Barnett||Owen, Will (Morpeth)|
|Dobson, Ray||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Padley, Walter|
|Doig, Peter||Jeger, George (Goole)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Cwyneth (Exeter)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Park, Trevor||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Parker, John (Dagenham)||Rose, Paul||Varley, Eric G.|
|Parkin, Ben (Paddington, N.)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)||Wallace, George|
|Pavitt, Laurence||Sheldon, Robert||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Weitzman, David|
|Pentland, Norman||Short, Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Wellbeloved, James|
|Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N. E.)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Whitaker, Ben|
|Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.||Silverman, Julius||Whitlock, William|
|Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)||Slater, Joseph||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)||Small, William||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Price, William (Rugby)||Spriggs, Leslie||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Probert, Arthur||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Randall, Harry||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Rankin, John||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Rees, Merlyn||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Reynolds, Rt. Hn. G. W.||Swain, Thomas||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Rhodes, Geoffrey||Swingler, Stephen||Winnick, David|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Taverne, Dick||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George||Woof, Robert|
|Robertson, John (Paisley)||Thornton, Ernest|
|Robinson, Rt.Hn.Kenneth(St.P'c'as)||Tinn, James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Tomney, Frank||Mr. Charles Grey and|
|Roebuck, Roy||Tuck, Raphael||Mr. Ioan L. Evans.|