HC Deb 17 February 1970 vol 796 cc204-5
Q1. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Prime Minister whether he will now transfer the whole of the responsibility for dealing with aircraft noise to the Secretary of State for Local Government and Regional Planning.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

No, Sir.

Mr. Jenkins

I thank my right hon. Friend for the courtesy of that Answer. Will he none the less reconsider, as the Board is concerned with trade and not with amenity, appointing a Department which would more efficiently and energetically carry out the duty of safeguarding the citizen in this respect?

The Prime Minister

As courteously as I can, I would point out that my right hon. Friend has responsibility for civil aviation, and has to make regulations and deal with all the problems of noise arising from aircraft flying in the vicinity of our great airports. I understand that my right hon. Friend will—I hope before the Easter Recess—announce further measures in relation to noise regulations.

Dr. Winstanley

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that those living alongside airports, like my constituents, are more concerned with what is done than with who does it and that they are much encouraged by the sympathetic and understanding attitude of the present Minister of State? Since action against aircraft noise without imperilling safety costs money, will he confirm that money will be made available for this important purpose?

The Prime Minister

In this atmosphere of almost unprecedented courtesy, I would say that my right hon. Friend is addressing himself very much to this question. The hon. Gentleman will be aware of the legislation which we introduced in a previous Parliament for giving financial subventions for people living in the vicinity of an airport—which, of course, costs money. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Technology is concerned with matters of research into aircraft engine noise and means of reducing the noise of particular engines. That is why it is not possible to put all these responsibilities under my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Local Government and Regional Planning.