HC Deb 30 April 1969 vol 782 cc1434-5
11. Mr. Onslow

asked the President of the Board or Trade if he will make a statement on the progress of his talks with the United States and French aviation authorities on the establishment of aircraft noise control procedures.

Mr. William Rodgers

Good progress was made last year in drawing up an outline tripartite noise certification plan covering future generations of subsonic jet aircraft.

Discussions are to be resumed shortly with the American and French Governments, in which we shall seek the early adoption of a practical and internationally recognised scheme that will ensure that progressive introduction of the much quieter aircraft which recent technological innovations make possible.

Mr. Onslow

The House recognises that the Minister has good intentions, but could he tell us what noise levels he is talking about in these terms and when he anticipates agreement will be reached? Can he assure us that he is taking steps to keep the Roskill Commission informed of the progress which is being made, as the results must be relevant to its inquiry?

Mr. Rodgers

I cannot say when agreement will be reached because it depends, quite clearly, not only on ourselves but also on the French and American Governments, in particular. We are moving as fast as we possibly can. The point about noise levels is not easy because, as the hon. Gentleman and the House know, they vary in different circumstances, and particularly in relation to weight of aircraft. I think the standards which we are aiming at are ones in which the House will find some satisfaction. Certainly we shall ensure that the Roskill Commission is kept in touch with the progress which is made.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Will my hon. Friend give attention in particular to the recommendations of the Ministers of the Council of Europe regarding the limitation of noise levels when licensing aircraft?

Mr. Rodgers

I think we share a common problem with many other countries. Noise is a very real social problem, and there is a general anxiety to reduce the current levels. Certainly we will consult with everybody who can help towards this end.