HC Deb 16 December 1970 vol 808 cc1326-7
10. Mr. Allason

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what reply he has sent to the letter from the Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise dated 18th November about the grant of planning approval at Luton Airport.

Mr. Graham Page

I have had a copy from my hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew), and I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of my reply.

Mr. Allason

Is my hon. Friend aware that when planning permission was granted to Luton our right hon. Friend expressed confidence that Luton would not cause increased disturbance by aircraft noise, but that Luton now proposes to increase night jet flight take-offs by 42 per cent. in the season?

Hon. Members


Mr. Allason

Will my hon. Friend please take enforcement action against this breach, in the interests of the environment?

Mr. Page

This is a difficult point, because my right hon. Friend has no power to control either the number of flights or the number of passengers using the airport. He has made it clear to Luton Borough Council that we recognise that there is widespread concern about the effects of aircraft noise in the area, particularly to the east of the airport, as a result of the intensification of activities there. We have asked the council to have due regard to these effects and to the adequacy of airport facilities before entering into future commitments with airline operators.

Mr. Rankin

Will the hon. Gentleman make it perfectly clear that he is not aiding and abetting a low-down plan to limit the activities of Luton Airport?

Mr. Page

So far as my right hon. Friend wants to know and to have some influence on the increase of activities there, we are limiting the increase of activities, but the real point is the long-term future of this airport, which must await the report from Roskill.

Mr. John Hall

Would my hon. Friend agree that aircraft noise is becoming an intolerable nuisance? Many of my constituents are suffering from the effects of over-flying not only from Luton but from London Airport. Is it not time that there was a national inquiry into the development and siting of present and future airports, and an inquiry into the effects of increasing noise on the wellbeing and welfare of people?

Mr. Page

I agree with the first part of my hon. Friend's question. Noise is now a very serious matter. My Department deals with it as best it can under planning laws and planning applications. We would like to consider whether there is any need for further control.