HC Deb 12 February 1973 vol 850 cc959-60
7. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry why the fully automatic noise monitoring system at Heathrow airport promised to be completed by the summer of 1968 was not completed; when it will be operational; and if it will monitor approach as well as departure noise.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

The system was not scheduled to be completed by the summer of 1968; it is expected to become fully operational by June 1973 and will be used only to monitor take-off noise.

Mr. Jenkins

The hon. Gentleman's answer lacks his usual accuracy, as the Kew Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise was promised that the system would be developed in 1968. However, now that it is to be developed at long last, will the hon. Gentleman reconsider the question of approach monitoring? Is he aware that it takes place at Frankfurt, Zurich, Los Angeles and one or two other places? As the problem of Heathrow is mainly an approach problem, it would be useful for him to consider that. As the system is now to be introduced, will he consider whether approach monitoring should be incorporated in it?

Mr. Heseltine

I assure the hon. Gentleman that my answer was accurate. It was the trial system that was promised to be in operation in 1968, and it was in operation in 1969. As a result of that, we are now proceeding to the installation of a full system, which is hoped to be in operation in 1973.

On approach monitoring, the view is taken that it would not be advisable to blur the safety factors involved in pilots keeping on the glide path as they come in by introducing this sort of additional discipline. The problems of congestion around Heathrow are very different from those at the airports the hon. Gentleman mentioned.

Mr. Jenkins

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.