HC Deb 13 June 1973 vol 857 cc1498-620

It shall be the duty of the Maplin Development Authority, before beginning any work of reclamation authorised by this Act, to consult with the Civil Aviation Authority and with the British Airports Authority about the likely future levels of aircraft noise at existing airports having regard to technological developments in aircraft construction and airport traffic management and to consult with the National Ports Council about the likely effect of the seaport development on the trade of other United Kingdom ports.—[Mr. Oakes.]

Brought up and read the First time.

4.5 p.m.

Mr. Gordon Oakes (Widnes)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Speaker

It will be convenient to take with this new clause the following new clauses:

New Clause 2—[Duty to consult on aerospace developments.]

New Clause 3—[Duty to consult on national ports policy.]

We shall also take Amendment No. 3, in Clause 2, page 2, line 18, at end insert: 'provided that such land is not used for purposes which will cause noise nuisance to persons living in Essex and Kent'.

Mr. Oakes

I take it that it will be in order, Mr. Speaker, if separate Divisions are called for on new Clause 1 and new Clause 2?

Mr. Speaker

I will allow separate Divisions on new Clause 1 and new Clause 2.

Mr. Oakes

I know that many hon. Members on both sides of the House wish to speak on this series of new clauses. I therefore intend to open the debate very briefly, despite the fundamental importance to the whole idea of the Maplin development of these clauses.

First, I will seek to set out what the new clause proposes to do. Secondly, I will mention what differentiates it, albeit narrowly, from new Clauses 2 and 3. These clauses are rightly taken together because their object is basically the same—to require the Maplin Development Authority to consult, and to think deeply about the results of that consultation, before embarking upon reclamation work which could cost the nation hundreds, if not thousands, of millions of pounds. Thirdly, I will set out some of the many reasons why the clause has become necessary since the Committee stage of the Bill and why this House, which is rightly concerned with the effectiveness of enormous public expenditure quite across normal party political lines, should decide that it is imperative to insert the clause in the Bill.

The clause seeks to confer a statutory duty on the Maplin Development Authority to look before it leaps. It seeks to require the authority to consult the Civil Aviation Authority and the British Airports Authority with special reference to the level of future aircraft noise at existing London airports in the light of the reduced engine noise in aeroplanes already in service—not projected engine noise or future technological developments—and in the light of advanced techniques in moving aircraft at those airports. The clause also requires the Maplin Development Authority to consult the National Ports Council on the tremendous implications of the development of a huge seaport on other United Kingdom ports—a matter which has never been debated by this House or by anybody else. The clause requires that this shall be done immediately, before any physical reclamation work begins.

New Clauses 2 and 3 have a similar object. They envisage continuous consultation between these statutory bodies. I do not disagree with that—it may not be a bad thing—but the House would be disingenuous to imagine that the Maplin Development Authority or any Minister, after the expenditure of hundreds of millions of pounds, would stop work on a half-completed Maplin which would stand out like a disused monstrous folly off the Esesx coast, although evidence might be given to the contrary in the light of developments. The consultation required by the clause must take place before any reclamation work begins, so that the Maplin Development Authority and the Minister are well aware of the future implications of the noise levels at the existing airports.

There are reasons why consultation has now become necessary. Even since the Roskill inquiry three years ago in 1970, there has been a dramatic change in the opinion of experts about the effects of aircraft coming in and out of London. We must remember that the Roskill inquiry decided against Maplin and based its views on the engine noise of aircraft then in existence, with some projections for the future in terms of larger aircraft. Aircraft have become much larger and faster than Roskill realised at that time. The fact is that the techniques in the handling of aircraft at Heathrow and Gatwick and in reducing the "peakiness" of the number of aircraft which can use those airports have improved enormously since the report was published.

Since the Second Reading of the Bill the Civil Aviation Authority has produced a report which clearly shows that the Maplin project is not an essential project. It is desirable in some ways, but it is not essential so far as the CAA report is concerned. I know that the Secretary of State for the Environment and his Under-Secretary of State have tended to cast away the decisions of the CAA report but that report demolishes the essential need for an airport at Maplin.

Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)

Would the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. Oakes) care to define what he means by "essential"? He sits for a constituency somewhere in the north of England, and he will appreciate that I represent a constituency quite close to Heathrow. Has he any conception of what my constituents and people in the surrounding neighbourhoods endure and does he regard that as an element of essentiality?

Mr. Oakes

The hon. and learned Gentleman is ahead of me, and I intend to deal with that point a little later in my remarks. When I use the word "essential", I refer to the actual number of aircraft that come into an airport. I shall deal with the question of noise in a few moments. The hon. and learned Gentleman is right to raise the subject of noise, and of course Members on all sides of the House are extremely concerned about noise nuisance at existing airports, and that aspect of the problem must never be forgotten.

The Civil Aviation Authority report showed that in 1985, five years after Maplin commences its operations, there will still be a considerable surplus of runway capacity at both those airports without major runway developments, although there may need to be some developments in terms of terminal buildings.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Environment has said that his Department is concerned not only with the physical capacity of an airport—indeed, the Under-Secretary of State in Standing Committee aptly said that from the point of view of usage—the most desirable place for an airport may well be in the middle of Hyde Park—but also with the whole question of noise and with the dreadful effects on the lives of people who have to live in the neighbourhood of existing airports. It is on that ground that the Government rest their case for the Maplin development. If that is so, and if Maplin has even a substantial effect on national noise levels in the 1980s at existing airports. then it may be wise to spend these enormous amounts of public money, but even since the CAA report was published it has become clear from many articles written by experts—basing their figures on Government statistics and not on figments of their own imagination—that Maplin will have a marginal effect on noise levels at existing airports.

We must look at the projections in terms of existing aircraft by way of size and quietness, and I refer to aircraft in service now rather than future aircraft which may be affected by technological developments. We can expect developments from a noise point of view as well as from the point of view of the pressing demands on aviation spirit which will be required to fly those aeroplanes. Most of the research carried out in the past on noise levels which may lead to a reduction in those levels has been as a result of the spin-off from finding ways of reducing spirit consumption.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. Toby Jessel (Twickenham)

Would the hon. Gentleman include in his concept of noise levels the frequency of flights?

Mr. Oakes

Yes, the frequency of flights is important, but research shows that the major cause of nuisance is not so much the frequency of flights as the amount of noise generated by a given aircraft. That is the main creator of nuisance. Reducing the argument to an absurdity, if all aircraft were completely silent nobody would care how many aircraft came in and out of the country or at what time they came in. I emphasise that the main problem is the noise generated by a particular aircraft.

What the reports clearly say is that quieter aircraft are coming into existence and will increasingly come into existence during this decade, and that in the middle of the next decade when Maplin would take effect the noise nuisance index, however accurate or inaccurate that may be. shows that hardly any effect would be caused by the existence of Maplin, and indeed that most of the reduction in noise levels at existing airports arises from the fact that quieter aircraft are using present airports.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins (Putney)

I want to try to help my hon. Friend by preventing him from persisting in error. He appears to be mistaken on the question of frequency. The fact is that much of the research into the subject of the impact of noise nuisance on the individual shows that frequency of aircraft movements is an extremely important factor. I am sure my hon. Friend will accept that a person can put up fairly easily with a fairly loud noise once an hour, but if that noise takes place sixty times an hour it becomes intolerable.

Mr. Oakes

I am not saying that frequency is unimportant and is to be disregarded. I am saying that the noise generated by an aircraft—the sort of level of noise of which my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) and his constituents are well aware, at a high pitch and a high rate—is far more jarring on the nerves than is noise heard more frequently overhead in a given area.

I should like to quote from an article in The Times on 18th May 1973, appropriately headed "Time to melt the Maplin snowball" and written by Mr. C. D. Foster, head of the Centre for Urban Economics at the London School of Economics. Mr. Foster writes: The Department of Trade and Industry has already mapped the effect this would have —that is to say, the introduction of quieter aircraft— on reducing the noise expected from Maplin. Rough estimates by Mr. Flowerdew at the London School of Economics, based entirely on official figures, suggest that the replacement of the older aircraft by the new will alone nearly halve the noise from Heathrow. The noise levels at Kensington will be like those in Hampstead, and at Hounslow like those now experienced at Barnes. This will be a persistent, sustained improvement over the next 12 years. In the light of expert opinion such as that and the research carried out by Mr. Flowerdew, who was the Assistant Director of Research for the Roskill Commission, and in the light of opinion of other experts, can the Government allow the Maplin Development Authority to go ahead regardless of these opinions as to the noise levels and future noise levels at existing airports?

It is not a matter of the Opposition saying that there should be a third inland airport. It is not a matter of the Opposition or hon. Members opposite who support the clause saying that we have a cynical and total disregard for those who live near Heathrow or Gatwick under the strain of this enormous noise and that we will not have it exported to Maplin. In terms of the aircraft that we have in service the noise levels at those airports will be reduced considerably.

If the Maplin Development Authority must consult the Civil Aviation Authority, the British Airports Authority and the National Ports Council before proceeding with any reclamation work, as the clause requires, without disadvantage to the people who live in and around the existing airports, we in this House may be able to avoid needless expenditure on the most inefficient way that this House could devise of reducing aircraft noise or helping people in those areas.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Eldon Griffiths)

Since the hon. Gentleman has said what the Opposition do not favour, I hope that he will say before he draws his remarks to a conclusion whether it is the policy of the Opposition that the growth in the numbers of aircraft and air passengers shall be handled at the existing London airports. Is that the position, because I think that we need to know?

Mr. Oakes

For want of time I have not discussed in any detail the important rôle which could be played by regional airports where people want them, whereas the Government insist on everyone being drawn to the South-East whether they live in Birmingham, Manchester, Yorkshire or any other part of the country. The other point is that we are concerned in the clause to deal with the level of aircraft noise at the existing airports. No one is greatly worried about the use of the existing airports providing that the noise nuisance there is reduced considerably, if possible even to the point of eliminating it. I am concerned to see that the Maplin Development Authority at least considers that.

I ask all hon. Members who care about public expenditure to support the clause. It will not wreck the Maplin Development Bill, no matter what the Opposition may think of that. If the Government resist the clause they are acting like ostriches and refusing, either themselves or to allow the Maplin Development Authority, to consider the implications of what is being done in the light of modern knowledge and technological advance in aircraft noise and its frequency.

Mr. Robert Adley (Bristol, North-East)

Earlier this afternoon we had the introduction of a Ten-Minute Rule Bill by the hon. Member for Wandsworth, Central (Mr. Thomas Cox) asking that hon. Members should declare their interests. My interest in this subject is that of the taxpayer. In all our discussions about the location of new airports the resulting public expenditure is sometimes forgotten.

A number of my hon. Friends have put their names to new Clause 2 which seeks to set up a monitoring device on the progress of the Maplin development as the land is reclaimed.

As the Bill stands at present, there are four groups of objectors among hon. Members. There are those with constituency interests in Essex and Kent. There are those who would like to see the development of regional airports, with regional policies being brought more into the Government's consideration of these matters. There are those who are concerned about public expenditure. There are those who have studied the aviation aspects of the problem, especially the noise problems to which the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. Oakes) has just referred.

May I briefly trace back the way in which the decision that we are discussing was reached? As the hon. Member for Widnes said, Roskill did not recommend Foulness. He short-listed four sites, three of which were inland, and which rightly and naturally had strong lobbies against them, and one of which appeared at the time anyway to be a decision which could be taken arousing comparatively little objection. That was the negative way in which the decision was taken initially. However, as time has gone by, more and more people have begun to question not only the way in which the decision was taken but the full implications of it.

This is not and certainly should not be a party political issue, and those of my hon. Friends who have put their names to new Clause 2 have little in common other than our concern to see some form of monitoring device set up as a result of the clause. The hon. Member for Widnes suggested that new Clauses I and 2 were not very different. However, I emphasise to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State that new Clause 2 is a modest one which is designed only as a monitoring device. It recognises that the House has given a Second Reading to a Bill containing powers to reclaim land. I am not interested in trying to kill the Bill with the clause. I am simply interested in doing everything possible to see that the real and continuing interests of the taxpayer are protected.

If the clause is accepted, I ask my right hon. and learned Friend to appreciate that all that it does is to give the Government an opportunity from now until any time in the future to take account of real developments and not theoretical ones, if necessary to call a halt to the proceedings, and if necessary not to spend money. I should have thought that that would have some appeal to the Treasury.

Very often the Concorde, Maplin and the Channel Tunnel are compared. The Concorde project has been going for 11 years, prior to which there were five years of deep thought which went into the project. Many hon. Members have doubts about the Concorde. I am not one of them. But having served on the Committee which considered the Concorde Aircraft Bill, I can understand why people have doubts about projects of this kind. It is understandable that the absence of any monitoring device, especially in the early stages of these major projects, can result in a great deal of heartache later.

The Channel Tunnel has had 150 years of study. Therefore its only comparison with Maplin is one of opposites in terms of the speed and thought which have gone into the projects.

If my right hon. and learned Friend is so confident that all that he proposes in the Bill is correct and that there will be no developments in the next 10 years to reverse any of the assumptions in the decisions that he has taken, then by accepting the clause he will have a permanent opportunity to prove that he was right. If that turns out to be so, he will never need to invoke the powers that the clause gives him.

I might say, by way of explanation, that the proposal put forward in the clause has been prompted by a study of the experience of the Canadian Federal Government, who at the moment are going through a similar exercise for the location of a major new airport for Toronto at a place called Pickering. On 30th January of this year the Federal Transport Minister, Mr. Marchand, explained the reasons for choosing the site at Pickering and why he felt it right to build into the proposals a monitoring device not dissimilar to that which we are proposing today. In the course of his remarks, Mr. Marchand said: The Government has gone as far as It could into the technologically-forseeable future. … However an independent board will be set up to hear views on the airport and the urban area around it. … If it produces any vitally new facts on technology, or changes in the attitude of the people that may point to a different conclusion, the Government could be moved to reconsider. It is fair to point out that Mr. Marchand went on to say that he thought this unlikely and that he had no doubt that the Canadian Federal Government would be proved right. That may be so. If my right hon. and learned Friend is as confident as he appears, he could accept the clause with equanimity.

4.30 p.m.

I turn now to the point touched on by the hon. Member for Widnes—namely, whether quiet and short-runway aircraft are a myth.

The Toronto Globe and Mail of 18th March 1973 states: The most important question in the controversy over the new Toronto airport in Pickering Township has been completely overlooked. No one has asked—in public at least—why build an airport with long runways when revolutionary new aircraft for short runways are just around the corner? When the project is finished, will there he any need of a conventional commercial flying field with long runways, a field that takes up an unconscionable amount of valuable space? The implications of the development of short take-off and landing (STOL) planes and especially of quiet short take-off and landing (QSTOL) aircraft do not seem to have been taken into account. This is even more surprising since Canada has done pioneering work in this field and perhaps still has a lead in it, though this is becoming more doubtful by the day. We in this country are, with the Swedes, the Germans and the Spanish, researching a new aircraft called the Europlane. I commend to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State a close study of the noise levels of the Europlane. By the time this aircraft would be in service it would be able to restrict more or less to the area of the airport itself the frightful noise which many people around Heathrow and Gatwick have to suffer.

In passing, I should like to assure those of my hon. Friends who will speak against my new clause that none of us is in any way seeking to dilute the misery and hardship caused by noisy aircraft now and in previous years.

The new clause raises the issue whether there have been any significant developments since Roskill. I should like to point out, in defence of my new clause, that in 1968 the largest civil aircraft in service, the DC8–63, carried 259 passengers and required a runway length of 11,500 ft. By 1972 the Boeing 747 Series 100 was in service. That aircraft carried 490 passengers and required a runway length of 9,400 ft. Since Roskill there has been an enormous change in the runway lengths required.

Even more important, there have been enormous changes in noise levels. I should like to refer to a Department of the Environment document, "Maplin Airport", which was published in April 1972. I do not think one could ask for a more impeccable source of information. In paragraph 10, entitled "Noisiness of Aircraft", it states: The greater volume of traffic now forecast for Maplin is however offset in terms of noise by revised forecasts of the noisiness of aircraft in the future. This is one of the most important changes since the Roskill Report. There is now firm evidence of substantial progress in the quietening of aircraft engines. When the Roskill Commission were sitting the best estimate they could make was that by 1985 new types of aircraft would be 10 PNdB quieter than current (1970) aircraft of the same weight—that is to say, half as noisy. But already in 1972 major new types of aircraft (the Douglas DC10 and Lockheed 1011) have emerged and are flying with recorded noise levels well below this. And this is a continuing process. Paragraph 11 begins with the sentence: The effect is to produce far more favourable forecasts of quieter aircraft than assumed by the Roskill Commission. Figure 1 shows the present forecasts of aircraft noise reduction". The simple fact is that Roskill said that between 1970 and 1995 there would be a noise reduction of X. Within two years, not 25 years. Roskill's estimate of the noise reduction had been more than achieved.

Those of us who have studied this problem now know that the people who live around airports rightly will not tolerate noise. The airlines have got the message. They have told their suppliers, the aircraft manufacturers, that they must build quiet aircraft. This is going on now. There is nothing particularly difficult about building quiet aircraft. It may be expensive, but the expense involved in building quiet aircraft—

Mr. Ronald Bell

My hon. Friend made the astonishing statement that noise levels had been halved within two years. Is he seriously suggesting that the noise around Heathrow has fallen by half in the last two years? Surely all that he means is that a type of aeroplane has been developed which has halved the noise level. The whole purpose of the Roskill extrapolation and of others is the time that it takes for new types to supersede existing types. My hon. Friend seems to have ignored that fact, so it can be dismissed from consideration.

Mr. Adley

I am sure that my hon. and learned Friend, with his legal training, will not want to deceive anybody by suggesting that I said something that I did not say. I read from a Department of the Environment publication which pointed out that already in service are two new aircraft which have reduced the noise level substantially more than Roskill thought could be done in 25 years. By the time that Maplin could be open the numbers of Douglas DC10s and Lockheed 1011s and other even quieter aircraft will be much greater than today. The document is to be believed or it is not. I was not seeking to do anything other than to make a direct quotation.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

I want to be sure that I heard my hon. Friend correctly. Did he say that there was nothing particularly difficult about developing a quiet aircraft?

Mr. Adley

Yes. I said that there is nothing technologically difficult.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

The advice that have been given is that, although engine noise may be quietened and may come very quickly, there is apparently a level below which noise cannot be reduced because there is a large piece of metal weighing several hundred tons being pushed through the air at several hundred miles an hour. Will my hon. Friend explain how the noise from that is reduced?

Mr. Adley

If my hon. Friend believes that, perhaps he will tell the House what aeroplanes will continue to use Heathrow and Gatwick, because he is leaving them open, not closing them, when Foulness is built.

Mr. John Wilkinson (Bradford, West)

I think that the House might be interested to know that by 1985 at least 70 per cent. of movements into the London airports will be of wide-bodied airliners and Jumbos and 91 per cent. of passengers will be carried in those aircraft This is the dimension of the change which is taking place through existing, let alone future, technical developments such as the aircraft mentioned by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Adley

I am greatly indebted to my hon. Friend, who is extremely knowledgeable in these matters. I am aware that he has more knowledge of the subject, with his aeronautical background, than I have.

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State has referred to noisy gliders which will be flying around with engines turned off! I am trying to show that aircraft are getting quieter. Of course, a large aircraft flying through the air will make a noise, but if his document is to be believed there has been a substantial change in technological development since Roskill. The new clause seeks to ensure that if there are any further changes, which may confound even my hon. Friend, we would have taken powers to deal with them.

Mr. Norman Tebbit (Epping)

Before my hon. Friend leaves that point, because we do not wish to labour it and have the Under-Secretary misunderstanding it, may I assure the House that aeroplanes do not fly at several hundred miles an hour whilst coming into land, however large they are? Let us be quite clear that technically not only is it very much easier to quieten aircraft to the limits of less than 90 decibels outside the airport area, but that the work is being done. We shall undoubtedly achieve it. However, no one is doing that sort of work on the vehicles that will be used to transport passengers to this airfield through East London. My hon. Friend has not yet agreed to publish the noise contours for either side of his motorways and railways.

Mr. Adley

I am grateful to my hon Friend for his intervention. I will not pursue that point. However, I hope that he will do so, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if he catches your eye.

I was not blessed with a very elaborate education, but I learned Greek and logic. I say I learned logic. I may not have learned it, but I was taught it. If we are building an airport 55 miles away on the Essex marshes, in order to spare people noise, and we are maintaining two other major airports in service at Gatwick and Heathrow, what sort of aeroplanes will continue to use those airports?

If my hon. Friend says that they will continue to be noisy aircraft, then the people who live around Gatwick and Heathrow will continue to be pestered by noise. Perhaps he could explain just what sort of aircraft he thinks will be using those airports. If, however, he says that they will be quiet aircraft, that is fine. Then we need not build Maplin in the first place.

I fully appreciate the point made by the constituents of my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel), my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell) and the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins). We know that they are living in misery, albeit slightly less misery than a year ago. But nothing could be worse than to convince these people that by building an airport on the Essex marshes we shall spare them all noise, when in 10 years they will find that we have not done so.

Mr. James Allason (Hemel Hempstead)

Would my hon. Friend recall the situation of Luton, which is creating worse noise than even Heathrow or Gatwick by night? The intention there is that it will be closed down for international flights when Maplin opens. Therefore, in that case, there will be a considerable difference. He should not neglect that argument.

Mr. Adley

I do not, of course, neglect Luton. I recognise the great concern that my hon. Friend has always shown about Luton. But surely at least 90 to 95 per cent. of the people suffering noise in the London area are those who live around Heathrow and Gatwick. That is what the debate is all about when we consider Maplin. I would ask my hon. Friend to accept the serious point that it would be very unkind, to put it at its mildest, for people to be led to think that, if the Bill were passed unamended and the airport built, they should suddenly be in a quiet and peaceful situation.

I have been reading a recently published book called "Cublington: A Blueprint for Resistance". This confirms, in a number of quotations that I have marked but with which I will not weary the House, the way in which the original decision was taken. It was taken simultaneously with the decision not to build a second runway at Gatwick, which would have cost £7 million. I do not know what the latest figures are for the cost of Foulness. I should not call it "Foulness", perhaps; the PR exercise calls it "Maplin". We have heard an estimate of £1,000 million. Suppose that it is £800 million at 1972 prices. What estimate has my hon. Friend made of the price of this airport, with all the infrastructure and with inflation built in over 10 years, plus the likely cost overrun in 1984—if that is not an unfortunate date to choose—at 1984 prices?

I hold no brief for the airlines, but if we are to build this huge airport with public money, it is the Government's responsibility to find out whether there will be any customers for it. Before the British Steel Corporation starts to build a new steel mill, I imagine that it does some research to discover whether it will sell any steel. It is my clear impression that very few of the world's international airlines have expressed any interest in Foulness.

My hon. Friend the Member for Woking (Mr. Onslow), the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, in an answer on 7th February 1973 was quite frank. He said: No airline expressed a preference for Foulness."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th February 1973; Vol. 850, c. 126.] I presume that my hon. Friend is aware that the Government do not possess powers to direct traffic to particular airports. There is no way at the moment in which the British Government can tell Pan-American to go to Foulness.

In 15 years of the operation of Gatwick, not one major international carrier has transferred its base from Heathrow. When the Turkish airline THY two years ago decided to start a service from Turkey to London, it wanted to use Heathrow. The Airports Authority told it to use Gatwick, it said that it would not, the British Government, through their agencies, insisted, the Turkish government retaliated—BEA was barred from landing anywhere in Turkey and one had to get off BEA aircraft in Athens—and very soon the British Government were forced to back down and THY went to Heathrow.

4.45 p.m.

So if we pass the Bill unamended, Maplin goes ahead and the Government find that they have an airport which the airlines are not using, they will have to take new and wide-ranging powers, which will have considerable international implications. It is not difficult to build an airport, given £1,000 million, but we must, if we are trying to look after the taxpayers' interests, ask what customers there will be for this airport. Most of us would find it intolerable if we were to build a huge and expensive airport simply for use by charter services.

Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson (Walthamstow, East)

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Japanese are building a second airport in Tokyo which will be 55 miles outside Tokyo, that they will face exactly the same problem, and that they are willing to force the airlines to use it?

Mr. Adley

I sympathise with the Japanese in their problems. They, I believe, have only one international airport. We already have two in London. There is a substantial difference, which we can see in Paris, for instance, where the French Government intend to close Le Bourget when Roissy is complete. We seem to be thinking that we can keep three airports going indefinitely.

I would again ask the Minister why he will not make a commitment to close Heathrow, and possibly Gatwick as well, in due course when Maplin, if it is built, is completed as a four-runway airport. I would find this acceptable. If we were ruthlessly determined to make noise abatement our main factor in this decision, we should consider building at Foulness and closing Heathrow. Then we could sell the land for housing and some industrial development and more than raise the money to build the new airport.

It concerns me that, at the moment, when we are committing this huge sum of money to the South-East of England, we in the South-West are being starved of any funds at all for the development of our airports. Bristol has been refused any loan sanction or assistance for the development of Lulsgate Airport. Even Exeter Airport, which was recently acquired by the Devon County Council and the Torbay and Exeter County Boroughs, has been refused £25,000.

I could go on at considerable length, but it might be unwise—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)

It might also very easily be out of order.

Mr. Adley

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

We should deal with this problem at source by eliminating the noise and not simply by moving it miles away. My hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Rost) has mentioned the oil shortage. Again the new clause is concerned with post-Roskill developments. On 22nd March, the Under-Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Working, told me: As no marked increase in oil prices was anticipated at the time of the Roskill Commission, no special account was taken of this factor in preparing traffic forecasts,"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd March, 1973; Vol. 853, c. 187.]

Mr. Peter Rost (Derbyshire, South-East)

In fact, I merely mentioned that, by 1995, the fuel and energy crisis might be becoming serious enough to be an influential factor in the siting of an airport.

Mr. Adley

I entirely agree.

The Department of the Environment has rightly recognised that the motor car cannot for ever be allowed to go on an uncontrolled spree and that we cannot go on building more and more urban motorways and roads simply because more and more people want to drive their motor cars to certain places. We might have reached the time when notwithstanding the fact that Roskill was asked to look for a site to cope with the growth of traffic requiring immediate access to London, we shall have to take powers, not, as the Minister perhaps intends, to direct airlines to Foulness, but to stop people flying in aircraft or to stop aircraft carrying out too many short haul journeys. I believe that 59 per cent. of the flights from Heathrow are to destinations less than 500 miles away. The Channel Tunnel is another development which was not sufficiently considered by Roskill and which will make a substantial difference to the traffic pattern in the years ahead.

I do not know how a back-bench Member is supposed to make up his mind on an issue of this sort. One considers a great deal of documentation and evidence and in the end one has to use one's judgment. I am not sufficiently confident to say that I know that nothing will change in the next 10 or 15 years, and new Clause 2 has been tabled to take all possible changes into account. The last thing I want to see is our now taking an irreversible step and finding in 10 years that we have done something which has had side effects the like of which we cannot now comprehend. In 1962 we had a shortage of hospital staff and we thought it a good idea to bring into the country large numbers from the Commonwealth in order to staff our hospitals. There are some who would say that this decision, taken at a time of apparent great need, has had repercussions which no one could have foreseen at that time.

I therefore ask my hon. Friend to give serious consideration to this modest clause which simply seeks to give him an opportunity, with the Civil Aviation Authority and the Maplin Development Authority, to change his plans should technical developments come about which we cannot at this time quite foresee.

Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)

I hope that the House will emphatically accept the new clause. I believe that since Second Reading this project has been shown by the CAA report to be entirely unnecessary and on no conceivable argument worth the grotesque sums which the Government propose to spend. The Maplin project began as a blunder, continued for some time as a sacred cow, and seems now to be in danger of becoming a scandal if we are going to spend money on this scale.

When the third London airport was first proposed in the 'sixties, the case was wholly based on the need for extra runway capacity. In 1966–67, professional opinion believed that new runway capacity would be needed by 1974 or 1975. One can now see what was not then as easy to see, that expert opinion, as so often, protected itself by consistently overestimating the speed at which we should need new runway capacity.

The CAA report seems to make this perfectly clear. It puts back to the late 1980s the need for substantial extra runway capacity over and above that which we already have, and shows to any impartial person that Maplin cannot possibly be justified on the grounds on which it has always been advocated until a few months ago, when the Government found the arguments untenable and changed their ground.

The Minister for Aerospace seems to me to have seriously misled the House on Second Reading when he quoted the CAA chairman as saying … that additional airport capacity will be needed in the London area probably by soon after 1980, with a subsequent need for more than one runway some five years after that."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th February 1973; Vol. 850, c. 783.] What he did not tell the House was that that additional capacity was based on the assumption that Southend and Stansted were closed, that Luton was seriously restricted and that no second runway was built at Gatwick. The CAA report shows that even in 1985, even if we close Southend and Stansted, restrict Luton and cancel the second runway at Gatwick, then Heathrow and Gatwick together—at any rate on the segregated mode basis—could nearly cope with the expected traffic; and it also shows that the one runway at Maplin would be only marginally needed. Even so that report significantly says, … Maplin's single runway adds relatively little to the annual capacity of the system, because of the expected 'peakiness' of Maplin's traffic, much of which is taken over from Luton, Stansted and Southend. That means that the existing airports, together with one more runway at Gatwick, could easily provide enough runway capacity even in 1985, and even if the estimates do not turn out yet again to be too pessimistic.

Mr. Jessel

I understand the right hon. Gentleman to imply that he believes that Heathrow and Gatwick should be fully used up to their capacity technically regardless of the amount of suffering that might cause to numbers of people living around the airports.

Mr. Jay

I shall come to that point, but I believe that the hon. Member misunderstands the facts if he thinks that it need involve the suffering of which he speaks. The Government in effect propose to spend £800 million or £1,000 million on transferring traffic from Southend, Luton and Stansted to Maplin; and that means that we shall be spending £800 million or £1,000 million for what we could get for £15 million or £20 million at Gatwick.

Faced with these undeniable facts and figures, the Government now change their ground entirely and devise two new arguments. First, we are told that it is not runway capacity that causes the bottleneck but passenger handling capacity. But the extra passenger handling capacity could he provided at Gatwick and Heathrow for a mere fraction of the £1,000 million now proposed. Gatwick has the rail capacity already, largely unused, and in any case the M23 will be built. Will the Minister today give his estimate of the cost of one extra runway at Gatwick, with the extra passenger handling capacity which would be needed there and at Heathrow? We should at least know the figure, even roughly. If the Minister cannot give us a figure he hopelessly undermines his case.

Secondly, we are now told that this has nothing to do with either cost or runway capacity at all—and here I come to the point put by the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel)—and that the whole purpose is environmental, to use that blessed word, which presumably means less noise nuisance for fewer people.

But the idea that Maplin will do this is a pure delusion when we take all the consequences into account. It is accepted only by those who have not grasped that relief from noise in the 'eighties will come from quieter aircraft engines and not from moving airports about, and who have not realised that placing an airport on the east coast does not materially diminish noise nuisance, because the takeoff run must normally be in a westerly or south-westerly direction and therefore over the coast and not over the open sea. The population of the Southend area, as we were reminded in an earlier debate, is nearer 300,000—not to mention the population of the Medway towns—

Sir Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)

And South-East Essex.

Mr. Jay


And, of course, the Maplin project proposes in addition to introduce a new city into East Essex of I do not know how many hundreds of thousands of people, in addition to Basildon and not very far from the airport. First we move the airport from the city at a cost of £800 million or £1,000 million and then we build another city not far from the airport at a cost of many hundreds of millions of pounds more.

In addition to all this, whereas the traffic facilities at Gatwick already exist, Maplin would involve the forcing of at least one new six-lane or it might be an eight-lane motorway right through thickly populated Essex and presumably into North-East London. If it is not to be forced into North-East London, what will happen to the traffic when it reaches the area of the hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Tebbit)? Will the Minister also tell us what his plans are for roads and rail links between London and Maplin, why they have not been published up to now, and what he estimates they will cost? It is quite intolerable that the House should not have that information when we are being asked to give the Bill a Third Reading.

We can, as I say, confidently expect relief from noise nuisance through the rapid development of quieter engines, which, I may say, I did my best to encourage when I had some responsibility in these matters six or so years ago.

5.0 p.m.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has referred to his responsibilities when he had charge of these matters. A few moments ago he spoke of the changing of ground. I remind him and the House that, as President of the Board of Trade, he said at that time: The Government have … carried out a very thorough re-examination, and are satisfied … that a third airport for London will unquestionably be required in the mid-1970s."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th May 1967; Vol. 746, c. 1867.] He went on to say that this was necessary with the full development of Heathrow and the building of a second runway at Gatwick. The only question about what he called this inevitable third London airport was when it would be required, and he concluded that it would be needed by 1974.

Mr. Jay

If the Minister had listened to me just now, he would have discovered that I have learned something from history, even though he has not.

Mr. F. A. Burden (Gillingham)

When the right hon. Gentleman was Minister, he must surely have known about the advance of jumbo jets and the movement then towards quieter aircraft. These things have not happened overnight.

Mr. Jay

Of course we knew something, but we know a great deal more now, as the hon. Gentleman will realise if he will take the trouble to study the reports to which I have referred. We know that significant results can be obtained from quieter aircraft engines. The Department of the Environment's Report for 1972 has shown that noise per aircraft is likely to be nearly halved by 1980, a far greater relief to Heathrow and Gatwick than can possibly come from any transfer of traffic. Indeed, if we devoted only one-twentieth of £1,000 million to quicker research and development on quieter engines, we should do far more to protect the people who are suffering around Gatwick and Heathrow than we should by building this third airport in Essex.

My constituency is on the Heathrow landing flight path, and it adjoins that of my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins). I would say to other hon. Members representing West London or South-West London constituencies that they will achieve far more relief for their constituents by pressing for quieter aircraft engines quickly than by advocating this monstrous waste of public money at Maplin.

The Department's Report for 1972 tells us in paragraph 10 that There is now … substantial progress in the quietening of aircraft engines. The sub-commit tee on Maplin of the Noise Advisory Council has made the same point. Mr. Flowerdew, of the Roskill Commission—we have had that report since 1971—and Mr. Alan Day have both forcibly argued the same case, and I believe that expert opinion now overwhelmingly supports their view.

The plain fact is that the Government are obstinately proposing to spend these vast sums when no case on runway capacity exists—that is no longer in dispute—when greater relief from noise could certainly be achieved by smaller expenditure in other ways, including the abandonment of the Essex motorway, and when it is certain that, if we proceed with this plan, we shall have at Maplin a highly inconvenient and unpopular airport which the airlines will not want to use.

On top of all that—this further point should be made—Maplin will create a huge new industrial complex and a growing city in East Anglia, which has already been the most overdeveloped region of the country since the war. Such an industrial magnet is bound to be another severe blow to development areas in the north and west of this island. Quite apart from its other follies, it would, I believe, represent the worst piece of regional planning since 1945.

It is extraordinary that the Minister should ask us to reject the new clause and approve the Bill before he is willing to tell us what would be the cost of one extra runway at Gatwick and the extra passenger handling facilities needed there and at Heathrow, or what are the proposed road and rail links between Maplin and London. We ought to be told that today, and I suggest that, if he does not tell us, the Minister will entirely undermine his own case.

I trust, therefore, that the House will do what each one of us, I believe, knows to be right—assert its authority in this matter, accept the new clause, and reject the project altogether.

Sir Bernard Braine

It must be clear by now to all who have followed the debates that this Bill is remarkable not for what it contains but for what it leaves out. The hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. Oakes) said that the purpose of his new clause is to ask the House to look again at the Maplin project before it leapt. I agree, though perhaps for different reasons.

The people of my constituency—let it not be forgotten that, for good or ill, they will be affected more profoundly than the people of any other constituency in the land if Maplin is developed—are being asked to take far too many matters on trust. For example, we are being asked to approve the Bill before we know where the access routes will run or what will be their cost. We are being asked to approve the Bill before we know the results of essential studies of the effects of reclamation work on tidal and surge behaviour in the rivers and on flood control. We are being asked to approve the Bill before anyone has a clear idea of what the noise impact will be upon the people of Essex and Kent.

Rarely before have so many hostages to fortune been found within the compass of a single Bill.

At this juncture we are considering matters affecting the environment at the eastern end of my constituency. I hope the House will permit me to digress for a moment and remind it of the way in which my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has recently discharged his duty to protect the environment at the western end of my constituency, where, in the teeth of opposition from the elected local authorities, from the Member of Parliament and from his own inspector, oil refineries are being put down next door to a growing residential area.

Such contempt already shown for the environmental interests of my constituents, such total disregard for good planning principles, leads me to say on behalf of my constituents and the local authorities that verbal assurances in regard to Maplin are totally unacceptable to us and the necessary safeguards must be written into the Bill. Hence my Amendment No. 3.

I do not see how the Government can object to my amendment, for they have argued repeatedly that the case for Maplin is that it will provide—I quote my hon. Friend's own words—the only civilised solution to the problems of intolerable aircraft noise at the existing London airports. In other words, it is proposed to build Maplin in order to improve the environment of those who have suffered discomfort for far too long around the existing airports.

I understand that purpose and sympathise with it. To reduce discomfort for others is a laudable aim. But one inference from this is that the nuisance at existing airports will increase, not diminish. That is to beg very many questions, not least of which is: what improvements can we expect from quieter engines, and, if there are improvements, what is the justification for the huge expenditure on Maplin? Another inference assiduously cultivated by the Government is that by using the NNI yardstick to gauge noise nuisance and by transferring that noise to Maplin, then because the runways there are to be on land reclaimed from the sea vastly fewer people will be affected by it. But this is a faulty method of judging the scale and intensity of nuisance, as was clearly shown in the evidence given to the Select Committee. Incidentally, may I take this opportunity of paying a warm tribute to the Select Committee for the most painstaking and careful examination it made of the Bill?

It is a faulty method because the level of noise intrusion differs according to the density of urban development and the absence of other noise. A 35 NNI level that is considered a low nuisance rating at Heathrow does not necessarily warrant a low rating at Maplin. At Maplin a 25 NNI rating would be more realistic because of the absence of other noise. If that is so, it means that many more people living in a substantial part of my constituency, in the neighbouring constituency of Southend East and in North Kent, are likely to be affected by noise than the Department of Environment likes to admit. We estimate that the number will be between 65,000 and 125,000. That is a lot of people to annoy for an airport that is going to be built on reclaimed land so that no one should be worried by the noise, as claimed by the Department.

There are other uncertainties. We still do not know whether it is better, as has been thought in the past, to concentrate as much traffic as possible in a limited corridor or to spread it over more routes. Research on this is still proceeding. Nor do we know whether flight paths to and from Maplin and the stacking areas will require some rearrangement of international air space over the Channel. This is a delicate matter. The House cannot be told about it because it obviously involves international negotiation. At the moment all the talk is of stacking over the sea. But what if for some reason, after the House has passed the Bill, in the years ahead, it becomes necessary to have a stacking area over the land? What then of the environment safeguards for the people of Essex and Kent? What price then the environmental argument to go for Maplin as opposed to Cublington? Then again we know that the Government promised to consult local interests about where the runways would be sited. They presented us with four choices and rejected out of hand the one furthest to the north-east which would have caused least noise nuisance to Essex and Kent. So much for local consultation and local opinion. Indeed, in environmental matters in South-East Essex there is a wide gap between the Government's promise and their performance.

Thus there is every justification for my constituents' fear that unless some genuine safeguards are written into the Bill our environment will worsen even where that is not intended, because the implications have not been studied carefully enough in advance. My amendment will put a clear duty on the Secretary of State to ensure that the various powers that he and his colleagues use under other statutes to determine flight paths, the siting of the runways, the altitude of aircraft and where stacking is to take place are used in such a way as to cause no noise nuisance to residents of Essex and Kent. Nothing short of a guarantee of that nature will satisfy us.

5.15 p.m.

Mr. Dick Taverne (Lincoln)

I wish to speak in support of both the clauses under discussion. They each call for a review of the technological developments particularly on quieter aero engines. I have had no previous opportunity to speak on this matter, since when the Second Reading took place I was not in the House. I wish to make a brief speech and add only one short and, perhaps, comparatively minor point. Part of the review which I would suggest to the Government that they should undertake should be a study of the possible effect on accelerated development of quieter engines of having differential landing charges.

Everyone agrees on the need for quieter engines. They are being developed; but it seems they are more expensive to run than the noisier ones. Certainly it would be costly to go for earlier refits of existing engines. If that were not so, the problem might be resolved earlier. There is one element in airline costs which is entirely within the Government's control, and that is landing charges. They are already differentiated to discourage peak-time landing and the differential could also be applied to discourage noisy landings. That could be done in a way which was economically neutral with an increase in the charges on noisier landings offset by decreases in the charges of quieter operation. But even if there were no increase in the charges, the social cost would be very much less.

Dr. Alan Glyn (Windsor)

Would not the hon. and learned Member agree that the effect of having these higher landing charges might be that aeroplanes would terminate their flights at Paris and other Continental terminals and not come to this country?

Mr. Taverne

If there were lower charges for the quiter engines the total effect might be environmentally most beneficial and that is something the Government should consider as part of their review. The level of the differential could be such as to influence the reordering policy of the airlines and to make refits of existing engines an economic proposition when discounted over the remaining lifetime expectancy. That would undoubtedly be a considerable extra inducement to quieter engines. The technology exists. Refit kits for most types of engine are available and where they were not available it would stimulate their development.

I want to refer briefly to the cost involved and remind hon. Members of the Fifth Report of the Expenditure Committee on the last White Paper on Public Expenditure. This is the report published on 15th February. Paragraph 9 says: As a result of deliberate policy decisions"— which were taken some months ago— expenditure in 1973–74 has been raised by about £1,200 million at 1972 prices (about 4 per cent. in real terms)". There have since been some adjustments, but the level is still very much higher than originally envisaged and it does not basically detract from the conclusion reached by the specialist adviser to that Sub-Commitee that even if the economy expands at a rate of 5 per cent. per annum between now and 1974 the rate of growth of personal consumption will have to slow down .. to about 2½ per cent. per annum"— from the present rate of nearly 7 per cent. The public expenditure constraint with which the present Government or any Government would be faced would be very serious. In view of the arguments which have been advanced in the debate, it is quite clear that the Government's case for allowing this extra expenditure to go forward has not been made out.

Mr. Wilkinson

I was unable to take part in the Second Reading debate, so I am glad that I have caught your eye so early in this debate, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

We have reached a late stage in the Bill. Although the clause has been supported in various ways, the intention is the same on both sides, and the clause has great merit. It states in effect that we should reconsider, taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the statutory body which we have recently created—the Civil Aviation Authority—to examine these complicated matters in detail from a national perspective. That has never been done.

It is quite clear that the entire Maplin project is an entirely political creature which arose, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-East (Mr. Adley) and other hon. Members have said, from pressurising and public relations resources deployed by the stockbroker belt of Buckinghamshire. It is clear that, in this as in so many other matters, money speaks.

From a purely aviation development the project has, as many hon. Members have reminded the House, progressed—if that is the word—to a far more grandiose venture. It appears to me that Essex County Council and the Port of London Authority have together hatched a new concept which has proved attractive to my right hon. and hon. Friends on the Front Bench, who are desperately looking for reasons to justify an earlier decision which was politically arrived at and which is no longer technically justifiable. The Maplin project is not just an airport", my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary wrote in "London's Flight East". It is the rapid, planned development of an entire sub-region, undertaken with the specific intention of improving the quality of life"— [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] presumably for those people who will be removed from their homes for railway and motorway construction, for the cockle fishers and wildfowlers of Foulness Flats, and for the bird-lovers who go there understanding that it is one of the few real bits of wilderness left.

My hon. Friend continued: improving the quality of life for those who live in the area as well as meeting the national need for better air and seaport facilities. Maplin is therefore a many-sided project. I question the claim that the project will mean better seaport facilities. I dread the thought of 500,000-ton oil tankers chuntering up the Channel. It would not be right on environmental grounds. Many accidents befall shipping in the Channel, and the prospect of an accident involving an oil tanker in those narrow waters is horrifying. Therefore, the claim that there would be better seaport facilities is not justifiable. If we wish to have a tanker complex and a container port, it should be developed somewhere on the West Coast, presumably in a development area.

The whole project is a political child. As I have told my right hon. Friend who is now Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, enthusiasm for the Maplin project varies inversely with knowledge of aviation. The more one knows about aeroplanes, the less one likes the project. This has been well demonstrated by the fact that not a single airline wants to use Maplin. [An HON. MEMBER: "Nor does a single person."]

I may be old-fashioned, but I have always thought that the air transport business was for the sake of the passengers and for the sake of maximising the profit of the airline operators. If passengers have a choice, they will always, other things being equal, go to the nearer rather than the further airport. The airline operators, other things being equal, wish to operate where they have existing plant and facilities as well as workpeople living nearby, where they have established operations.

They do not want to take ship—if that is the right phrase—to a place east of London to carry out those operations which they have been doing perfectly well in their existing location.

I am gravely apprehensive about the project. My apprehensions were heightened when I returned from a Select Committee visit to the sub-continent to learn of the speech of my hon. Friend the Minister for Aerospace and Shipping in the Second Reading debate. He seriously misquoted a letter from the Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority. It is often the case in life that the sins of omission are more grave than the sins of commission. My hon. Friend quoted the part in which the chairman said: It is … our view from the material at present available to us that additional airport capacity will be needed in the London area probably by or soon after 1980, with a subsequent need for more than one runway some five years thereafter. But then came the crunch. The whole tenor, the whole point, of the letter from the aviation point of view—the Civil Aviation Authority has no mandate to make political judgments but is entrusted with technical aviation judgments—was that the chairman went on to say: From the aviation point of view this additional capacity could with advantage be found by increased use and development of the existing London Airports. It is for the Government to decide whether other considerations"— such as the representations from the Port of London Authority, the Essex County Council or the stockbrokers of Buckinghamshire— such as noise offset the disadvantages to aviation and the additional cost of providing this capacity at a new airport. In making this judgment, Ministers will no doubt take account of possible development of quieter aircraft. That was a hopeful suggestion if ever there was one.

The Chairman went on to state: Our assessment takes acount of the recent development and the likely growth in the use of wide bodied jets and the effect this has on aircraft movement rates. Regional airport developments, necessary though they may be for the areas which they will serve, will not so materially affect the growth of traffic needing to be catered for in the London area as significantly to modify the view I have expressed. The view lie has expressed is that from the aviation standpoint the additional capacity could with advantage be found by increased use and development of the existing London airports.

Mr. Carol Mather (Esher)

Is my lion. Friend aware that many of those who live in constituencies that he refers to rather unkindly as being in the stockbroker belt work in London? We represent our constituents. Is he aware that noise in those areas has already reached an intolerable level? That was the trouble we had last summer when we made all the representations to the Minister.

Mr. Wilkinson

I am well aware of what my hon. Friend says. That is why I have been such a strong advocate of the use of Government funding, particularly on the scale the Government seem prepared to undertake for other schemes for the quietening of engines and for such technical developments in aviation as will have a universal benefit. If we merely move air transport facilities from one London airport to another, this cannot have the same universal benefit for stockbrokers in Buckinghamshire, wool-men in Yorkshire or Irishmen in Dublin.

Mr. Burden


Mr. Wilkinson

I will not give way.

The whole point is that with technical development we can maximise export opportunities for the aircraft industry and heighten employment opportunities in other advanced technologies as well as the aerospace industry throughout the country. Incidentally, we would not upset the Government's regional development strategy as gravely as we appear to be doing by increasing development in the most congested region at the very time when we are spending more money than ever on rightly trying to develop the industrial regions of the North and other places where such development is vital.

As we have expended millions of pounds, in my judgment correctly, on nationalising Rolls-Royce, presumably to keep in production the ultra-quiet, high technology RB211, the decision on Maplin seems particularly strange. It also seems to me that very worthwhile aviation decisions are being inhibited because if they were allowed to go ahead they would diminish the argument for Maplin.

We must consider the Hawker Siddeley 146 feeder airliner and to a much greater extent the Europlane consortium project which the BAC with other European companies is trying to undertake. It is not only to the airframe sector of the industry that consideration must be directed but to other areas also. We must consider the power plant scene. We have a major lead in this country through the development of the Dowty/Rowtol variable pitch fan. That has not been fully exploited for some reason. If we produce quiet airliners that are shown to work, that is another reason for not going ahead with Maplin.

5.30 p.m.

I have always advocated a regional and a technical approach to the problem. The two go hand in hand. The Civil Aviation Authority adduces in its report a number of good arguments from an aviation point of view. For example, there is no congestion at the London airports which makes the building of Maplin necessary. The extension of charter operations will to some extent reduce the number of air transport movements in the London area. First, we already know that 92 per cent. of passengers in the mid-1980s will be carried in ultra-large jumbo-size aeroplanes and that the number of movements will not grow as rapidly as expected.

Secondly, the use of wide-bodied aeroplanes on short-haul routes will increase. Mr. Wheatcroft, of the British Airways Board, was only recently speaking about the need for 800-seaters for BEA. Thirdly, the CAA says that airports outside London will handle a slightly greater proportion of all traffic.

The CAA says that the advanced passenger train will, by the end of the decade, affect domestic transport. It argues that the main expansion of air transport is in charter operations. Between 1966 and 1971 the increase in charter operations was 14 per cent. The increase in scheduled operations was only 6 per cent. Because of the high load factor involved in charter operations and the affinity group nature involved, the operations lend themselves to the use of departure airports much nearer the catchment area of the passengers which are carried.

It is rightly argued "Why should we in the north of England have to travel all the way down to Gatwick or Luton to join our flights?" The CAA says in paragraph 4.6 (i) of its report that there will he no reduced, short or vertical takeoff development of commercial significance by 1985. Later in the report it is said that a new 200-seater airbus could be in service by that date and that that will be taken into account in the calculations which will take place.

It is disingenuous to say that there will be no RTOL development by 1985. It could well be that there will not be such development but it will be a great tragedy for British aviation if that is the case. We will be losing a great opportunity. The technology is there. The Europlane consortium has said that by 1985, if given the go-ahead, it could have well over 200 such airliners—that is about 200 180-seater quiet airliners—in service.

There are only a few more things which must be said. More could be done in the way of mixed mode operations at existing airports. More could be done in the way of computer sequencing and the greater sophistication of air traffic control. That is particularly important if we operate restricted take-off and landing aircraft. Once that is done, air traffic can be spread about on a more rational basis. In other words, quiet and restricted take-off and landing aircraft could be allowed to use Northolt. There is no reason for not building a small runway north of the existing runway at Gatwick which will allow quiet restricted take-off and landing airliners to operate from that airport.

The argument in every survey and every analysis has been that if Maplin is developed there will be a significant falling off of passengers. It has been said that some 25 per cent. of the passengers who at present use Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Stansted could well be lost to the whole British air transport system. If Luton is forced to close, the traffic will be diverted not to Maplin but back to the point of origin which is towards the Midlands and the North.

It is interesting to note that over the last few years there has been a marked increase in aircraft movements in what I regard as the natural location for a new intercontinental airport which would fulfil the requirements for charter services and for cargo. I should put that airport at Castle Donington. It would be in the middle of the golden triangle of Leicester, Nottingham and Derby. It would be astride the M1 and there would be ample facilities for expansion.

Castle Donington has had a remarkable growth record. The number of passengers over the past five years has increased by approximately 21 per cent. The figures of increase for Birmingham, Manchester and Luton are 9 per cent., 8 per cent. and 49 per cent respectively. That shows to my mind that there is great potential in the Midlands.

Another important consideration is freight. A Midlands airport next to industrial conurbations would be useful but, more particularly, the full utilisation of Stansted is vital. In fact, the full utilisation of Stansted is an essential part of the strategy for doing without a new airport. It makes sense to use existing capital resources to the full and to use Government funding for new technical development which will be of universal benefit.

On technical grounds the argument which has been put forward is by no means proven. The very fact that the Government are not prepared to say exactly how much the new airport will cost, how much money will be involved in compensation for constructing motorways and road links and where those links will lie is unsatisfactory. There is so much which is unknown. We are being asked more or less to pay a blank cheque which could amount to almost £1,000 million at 1972 prices.

I am reminded that in 1970 my own local authority, together with the local authorities of Leeds and the West Riding, put in an application for a modest extension of the local regional airport at Yeadon. That extension, which would have cost perhaps £3 million and which was to be paid for entirely by the local ratepayers—the proposal had the support of the three local authorities—would have involved no industrial development, no motorways and no oil terminals or similar intrusions. Yet on supposedly environmental grounds the proposal was turned down by the Government. There cannot be one law for the South and one law for the North. That has applied, in the development of this country, for far too long. The Bill in its present form will perpetuate that. I believe that the new clause is a good escape clause which should be beneficial to Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Roy Jenkins (Birmingham, Stechford)

It is nearly eight and a half years since I last intervened in an aviation debate after having spent a fairly brief period of about 15 months intervening in such debates fairly intensively. On this occasion I shall be brief.

We are in danger of committing ourselves to a gross misapplication of limited public resources which will hang around the necks of successive Governments of which ever party they may be for a long time to come. I hope very much, even at this stage, that we will not make that mistake.

I have waited a little before trying to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in the hope that I might hear some deployment of the case for the Bill. There has been a certain silence this afternoon concerning that. If I may say so with complete good will to the Minister and the Under-Secretary, in a debate of this importance, which will run for a little time and clearly engages the cross-party feeling of many hon. Members, it would have been wise if the Minister or the Under-Secretary had spoken at an early stage and had told us of their arguments, leaving the other Minister to wind up at the end of the debate. I regret that that has not been done. I realise that it is not easy to foresee how debates will run. But if this debate is likely to run for some time, we ought to hear from the Government Front Bench before waiting until the end of the debate about the arguments that the Government wish us to consider. It may be that the Government case is stronger when presented with silence than when presented with words That we cannot judge in the absence of the words.

Clearly, a very considerable long-term public expenditure commitment is here involved; £1,000 million; probably £100 million a year. This is coming at a time when any Government would already be in considerable difficulties from a public expenditure point of view. A £4,000 million public sector deficit is not something that one can deal with lightly as the economy picks up and as the peculiar circumstances which have made it possible for it to arise without too much difficulty are disappearing.

I find it very difficult to believe that members of the Government with broader responsibilities than the two Ministers on the Front Bench this afternoon should lightly add to this in the present circumstances without feeling that there was an overwhelming case and an overwhelming necessity to do so. We should be very cautious on this general ground. I have no doubt that if we proceed and add this further significant sum to public expenditure for a great number of years ahead, we shall have to pay for this by cuts in necessary services throughout the country, which will make an impact upon it.

Perhaps partly through experience and partly through natural caution, I take a somewhat more cautious view about public expenditure than some of my hon. Friends occasionally take. Public expenditure is not a bottomless purse by any means. It is on the whole desirable that public expenditure should, in the main, be directed towards helping to even out the unfairnesses which are the almost inevitable result of the natural working of the economic system. Money spent upon an airport cannot do that by its very nature. On the whole, because of the nature of aviation, the people who will use the airport will be the richer half of the community. That does not mean that one should not spend money on an airport; but it means that one should look at it with a great deal of critical attention. That is not being done at present.

To proceed in present public expenditure circumstances is an act of great frivolity. I am surprised, as I have said, that members of the Government who are more senior do not express great hesitation about this. Hon. Members on both sides of the House, and members of future Governments from either side of the House, will greatly regret this decision if it is proceeded with unamended this afternoon.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Roy Jenkins

I shall not give way at present to my hon. Friend but I shall give way to him later, twice if necessary. I know his particular point of view but, with great respect, it does not arise at this point in my speech. It arises a little later.

It is also highly desirable—at times of public expenditure stringency it always applies—particularly when great mass technical projects of public expenditure are being considered, that we should be very careful and sceptical about being too much led by professional advice. There is such a thing as professional bias which, on the whole, leads us to commit expenditure to vast new projects which may well not be the most socially beneficial way of using that degree of public resource.

I was surprised that the Under-Secretary intervened in the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) in order to point out the late 1960s' position in relation to the 1975 estimates of the need for airport capacity. I thought that this was a very strong argument against proceeding as the Under-Secretary wishes to proceed at present. I have known my right hon. Friend to be wrong on his own initiative, but on this occasion he was clearly wrong on the basis of professional advice as to what was the likely position in the mid-1970s. It proved to be completely false. The fact that the Under-Secretary could say that these figures were put forward by my right hon. Friend in 1967, or whenever it was, and have proved completely false, and try to use that as an argument why the figures that the Under-Secretary is putting forward at present, which are in some ways even more hazardous, should be accepted without question, is one of the most extraordinary arguments that I have ever heard presented to the House.

5.45 p.m.

We are, therefore, in danger of committing ourselves to a vast sum of gratuitous expenditure. It is clear that on the present estimate extra runway capacity is not needed until very well on into the late 1980s. That is not contested. There may be some need for extra terminal capacity. That could clearly be built much more cheaply within the perimeters of the existing airports. The sewage works, or whatever it is, could be moved. If the sewage works are to be the reason for building Maplin, they will certainly become the most expensive sewage processing plants there has ever been in the history of the world.

Then there is the argument upon which the Government increasingly depend—the noise argument, the environmental argument. These matters are of great concern to my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) and other hon. Members who sit for constituencies greatly affected by London Airport and. to a slightly lesser extent, the Gatwick Airport noise. I do not in any way underestimate this problem. Living in West London, I suffer from it to a small extent, much less than those who live nearer. I was Minister of Aviation at the time when the real noisy aircraft began to come in and I had to deal with the intensive wave of public feeling. I have the fullest possible sympathy with it. What I am afraid of is that at present, having lived with London Airport, almost certainly in an unfortunate site from an amenity point of view, for 25 years, the Government want to deal with the problem partly in the most expensive way possible and at almost exactly the wrong time.

There is no doubt, first, that Maplin, if built, will not in itself make a great deal of difference. It will make a very small difference to the problem for those who live around existing airports. Secondly, the prospect of relieving intolerable noise and nuisance for those at present affected would be greatly improved by putting all resources, which would still be only a fraction of the cost of Maplin, into the reduction of engine noise rather than into this unwanted, unnecessary and grossly extravagant airport.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. His courtesy is only exceeded by the fallaciousness of his argument.

Hon. Members

Address the Chair.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)

The hon. Gentleman should address me.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

I apologise, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Intervening in the speech of my right hon. Friend, I naturally turned towards him.

My right hon. Friend is trying to suggest that there will be very little relief to Heathrow, and so on, by the building of Maplin. I shall deal with that a little later. It needs a fairly extensive argument to disprove that, and I shall do that later.

I wished to intervene previously on a point made by my right hon. Friend, but he said "Not now." My right hon. Friend was asserting that he wanted to save public money. He was questioning the expenditure of public funds on this scale and saying that it was giving money to the rich. If my right hon. Friend wishes to prevent expenditure on a few rich people he will, I think, agree with me when I say that the right sort of expenditure to cancel under such circumstances is expenditure on Concorde, not Maplin.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

My hon. Friend probably knows that I have long held sceptical views about Concorde. He is also probably aware that we are not debating Concorde this afternoon. If he is not aware of that, I am sure that you are, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am not sure that it would be appropriate to reply to that at any point in my speech, whether when my hon. Friend first wanted to intervene or at this stage. I will leave the matter there.

I also think it is quite wrong for the Government to ask us to reach a final decision on this matter within, as I understand it, two and a half to three weeks of the publication of what is the proposed line for the motorway and rail links to Maplin Airport. This is an absolutely essential part of judging the total environmental aspect of the new scheme. To ask us to reach a final decision within a few weeks of this being published, without having the information in our possession, is getting a little close to sharp practice.

There has, I regret to say, been a slight feeling throughout the controversy that the Government and the Ministers responsible have been a good deal less forthcoming with clear objective information than is their duty to this House and the country. It is quite wrong that we should be asked to do this without being able to see the scheme as a whole. I believe that we could, without question and without danger, postpone this decision for several years, almost certainly for five years. I doubt whether, if we postponed it for five years, with the intervening developments it would ever be necessary to proceed with the project. Even if it were we would have gained as a nation and not lost by postponement. I believe that the Government, too, would have gained.

There are certain circumstances in which there is a lot to be said for strong Government pressing on determinedly with major policies. This is not a major policy. It is not a party matter unless the Government make it so. It is a matter of great concern for people throughout the country and for hon. Members. The Minister for Aerospace whom I heard answering questions, I thought with great competence, on this issue when he made his statement the other day—although I thought he was quite wrong—will make a great mistake if he insists on proceeding today without at least accepting one or both of these new clauses.

There was a previous Minister of Aviation, not of Aerospace, my predecessor in that post and now the Minister of State at the Foreign Office, who, I think, in some of his decisions believed that he could show his strength by the stubbornness with which he persisted in his irrationality. I do not think that the career c f that right hon. Gentleman, whom I have liked for a long time, has prospered as a result of his determination to behave in that way. I am sure he left some extremely expensive legacies for the country.

I ask the present Minister and the Under-Secretary not to commit the same sort of mistake today but to listen to what is clearly the overwhelming feeling of the House and to what I believe is the widespread feeling outside and at the least to give themselves some pause for consideration before committing a gross act of misapplication of limited public funds.

Mr. Jessel

As this debate proceeds it becomes clearer that the supporters of the new clauses and the amendment are content to cram more and more aircraft into Heathrow and Gatwick. When they are told that this is likely to increase the suffering from noise nuisance in the area they tend to reply that this is perfectly all right because the aircraft will become so much quieter that the increased number of flights will not matter. I believe that argument to be fallacious and will return to it later.

I want now to go to something which the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) said at the beginning of his speech when he remarked that Maplin would cost about £100 million a year. He went on to say that the purpose of public spending, if I understood him correctly should be to deal with unfairnesses as between one part of our national community and another. In the South-East of England taxpayers have for years paid substantial sums so that industry and employment in the regions could be built up. They have done so on the whole willingly, to prevent unemployment.

Now there is a situation where there is suffering on a substantial scale from aircraft noise in the South-East. It is time that the country as a whole was willing to spend considerable sums to alleviate that suffering and that unfairness. I do not think it can be said that £100 million per year, which comes down to £2 per head of population per year, is an exorbitant sum in this context, in view of the amount of suffering that aircraft noise causes. My constituency is from three to seven miles from London Airport and the suffering there is often acute.

People feel it mostly in their gardens, and in their houses in the summer time when the windows are open. Aircraft noise interferes with the workings of schools, hospitals, churches and offices. It interferes with people's privacy in their homes; it interrupts their telephone calls, their television viewing and their listening to records. It is not so much the inconvenience that I wish to stress as the medical aspect. An article published in the Lancet recently showed conclusively that the incidence of mental illness around airports was higher than the average for the country as a whole to a significant extent.

At the National Physical Laboratory at Teddington in my constituency it is being shown that the incidence of deafness around airports is higher than the national average. I have had letters from constituents saying that they, their wives or husbands or friends, have become ill with worry because of aircraft noise. I hope that hon. Members on either side of the House will not attempt to belittle the extent of this suffering. I would invite anyone who might do so to come and spend two or three days in my constituency when aircraft are taking off from Heathrow to the east. The danger is that this will be insufficiently appreciated because there is too much reliance upon a form of statistic which is defective—the Noise Number Index.

Here I want to quote from a document sent out yesterday by the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise. It says: The Noise Number Index used to measure noise nuisance has serious shortcomings which are admitted by leading authorities in the field e.g. Doctor E. J. Richards. The Index…attributes a greater value to peak noise levels than to the number of aircraft movements, e.g. in a representative area, it required an increase in daily movements from 100 to 400—a quadrupling—to raise the Noise Number Index from 50 to 59—only an 18 per cent. increase. This discredited scale therefore shows an illusionary decrease for a small reduction of peak noise levels, at a time when the number of aircraft movements may be increasing. It is on this basis that the Civil Aviation Authority, and many journalists, have argued that the situation at Heathrow will improve. It will not. It will not, and that applies to all the newspaper articles referred to today by supporters of the new clauses. It applies to Mr. Flowerdew's articles. They are all based on false foundations and contain false deductions because they assume that people do not much mind about an increase in the number of flights as long as each flight becomes quieter.

Mr. Adley

Does my hon. Friend include in the false analyses the document of last April issued by the Department of the Environment?

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Jessel

I believe that the Department of the Environment is taking another look at the concept of the Noise Number Index because it is coming to attribute more weight to the argument that it is misleading as a representation of what people suffer from aircraft noise. In my consituency, what people mind, fear and dread most is not one, three or 10 particularly loud aircraft but aircraft coming over every two, three, five or seven minutes hour after hour, day after day. In that context, the situation has become intolerable, as my hon. Friend the Member for Esher (Mr. Mather) said, and people cannot bear the prospect of the number of flights increasing, even if each flight is slightly quieter.

I hope that in future we shall impose a ceiling on the total number of flights allowed through Heathrow and Gatwick and that it will be strictly applied. That implies having a third London airport unless the volume of aircraft movements is to be sharply curtailed. I therefore hope that hon. Members will support the Maplin project.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell (Southampton, Itchen)

New Clause 3, to which hardly anybody has referred, deals with the subject which I wish to raise. I want to discuss not the airport but the seaport at Maplin.

The casual way in which the Maplin scheme has developed is interesting. It started with an argument about whether we wanted a third London airport. It was decided that we did, so we started looking round for a place where it could be sited. We began with Cublington. However, a vocal and strong pressure group won the day at Cublington and that idea was abandoned. Eventually it was decided that it should go to Foulness. Somebody thought that an airport at Foulness might be lonely on its own and, therefore, we should perhaps build a seaport to accompany it.

No one seems to have done any detailed research into whether we need a new port or whether we have enough ports already to deal with the traffic. It has generally been held for a long time that we have enough ports and that if anything we want fewer, not more. However, to make Maplin an attractive and, I suppose, economically viable proposition, it was decided to have a new port at Maplin.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

No decision to have a new port at Maplin has yet been taken. The National Ports Council is being consulted, and the Port of London Authority has been asked to make proposals which will need to be judged, first, by the National Ports Council and, secondly, by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, who would wish to make a statement to the House.

Mr. Mitchell

I am very grateful for that information. I assume, therefore, that the Minister will accept new Clause 3, because that is exactly what it says. The assumption in the Bill is that there is likely to be a seaport at Maplin. On what economic basis is it justified? Has a survey been done of all the British ports to see whether they have spare capacity? I do not think it has.

The question then was: if we have a port, what kind of port should it be? Somebody thought we should have an oil terminal. It could be argued that Milford Haven was capable of extension to cope with the increased traffic. Then it was thought that perhaps oil on its own would not be a viable proposition, and so the question of containers was introduced.

I wish to discuss the container aspect from the point of view of my constituency. I am sure that the Minister will have seen an account of the Press conference given this week by the Chairman of the British Transport Docks Board at which he was cross-examined on the question of Maplin. He was very reasonable about it. He indicated that he had made no judgment on Maplin. He was asked whether the development of container facilities could be done cheaper and better elsewhere, and he was forced to say that container traffic could be developed at Southampton at a much cheaper rate than at Maplin. He pointed out that his authority could build two container berths at Southampton at a cost of under £10 million. We already have the land available at Southampton. We have room for four new deep-water container berths.

During the last Parliament there was an argument about Portbury, in Bristol, and the relative merits of developing Portbury and Southampton. The big advantage which Southampton had over Portbury and which Southampton has over Maplin is that it does not need tremendous initial capital expenditure. The land is available and it can be developed as the trade develops. It is important for any new port to develop as the trade develops and not in advance of trade. The Chairman of the British Transport Docks Board has pointed out that container traffic at Southampton can be gradually built up as trade increases. In addition, there are several hundred acres on the other side of the River Test in the ownership of the British Transport Docks Board which could, if necessary, be developed at much less cost than Maplin.

The economics of developing a seaport at Maplin seem to be very dubious. I have mentioned Southampton because I know it best, but other ports could be developed to take any extra trade which might go to Maplin.

If a large seaport develops at Maplin, one of two things will happen: either it will be a complete and utter white elephant, or if it attracts large quantities of trade it will make other ports, and possibly some of those in the development areas, redundant and white elephants. There is not, and there is not likely to be in the near future, need for a new seaport.

I do not wish to go into the arguments about the airport and aircraft noise. wished to concentrate on the question of a seaport because, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) said, we should go very carefully into the matter before we commit ourselves to the massive public expenditure involved in this project.

Mr. David Crouch (Canterbury)

I was most interested in the reference by the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. R. C. Mitchell) to the seaport aspect of Maplin. It will not have escaped his notice that I have tabled five amendments to cancel the seaport from the Bill. I will not speak to them, but I think I am entitled to speak to the seaport aspect because new Clause 3 mentions it.

I have done my homework. Last week I went to Antwerp to see what has happened there since the war. On Second Reading I argued that if we were to have an airport and a seaport at Maplin we must expect in time, as a matter of course, a full-scale, modern industrial development at Maplin unless the Government ordered that there should be no industrial development. The hon. Member for Itchen asked whether the development was to be a white elephant or a great success. It will be a white elephant as a port if the Government decree that there is to be no industrial development there, and it will be a great industrial success, to the detriment of every other industrial development in our regions, if the Government allow industrial development there. To allow that to happen would be the most disastrous mistake in the face of the activities of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who, with his regional policies and his Industry Act, is trying to revive the regions—the North-West, the North-East and Scotland.

My homework in Antwerp showed what can happen if we allow a port to develop. Before the war Antwerp had a large port by European standards with 250 acres of industrial development. Today, as a result of the growth of the European Economic Community, there are 10,500 acres of industrial development going full blast in Antwerp. There is one of the biggest petro-chemical developments in Europe, with two large oil refineries, with all the fall-out that goes with oil refineries and the modern development of chemical and petrochemical industries. The development is on a scale equivalent to the ICI operation in Teesside. I used to be in ICI, so I know what I am talking about.

Furthermore, the container port development at Antwerp will be bigger than the development at Rotterdam. The container port at Antwerp has attracted full-scale development from General Motors and Ford of America. They have built some of the biggest motor car and tractor assembly lines in Europe, which assemble parts made in Britain, Germany and the United States. They do not necessarily want to do that in Europe but they want to do it alongside a port. Anyone who says that it is possible to have a seaport without industrial development is not talking sense about the modern industrial process and progress of a seaport.

I am not saying—and I did not say on Second Reading—that we should not have a port at Maplin. I asked my constituents whether they were prepared to see a new Teesside development on Thameside. I told them that it would completely alter the environment, it might make them much richer but it would change the nature of that part of England.

I want to say something about my views on Maplin as the third London airport. The Bill is a very permissive Bill and a very expensive one. It permits the establishment of a statutory authority—the Maplin Development Authority—to go ahead and build an airport and a seaport.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

The Maplin Development Authority has no power to build an airport and has no power to build a seaport. It simply has a duty to provide land if the statutory authorities—the British Airports Authority and the Port of London Authority—are permitted by Ministers, who control their investment programmes, to proceed with the schemes for those buildings.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Crouch

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for correcting me on this slight but important detail. It means that a large amount of work will be engaged upon by the statutory authorities which will cost a great deal of the taxpayers' money. To excavate and reclaim 10,000 to 15,000 acres in the Thames Estuary is an expensive process.

I will speak to new Clause 2 and refer to new Clause 1. The Bill does not appear to require this new authority to consult the Ministers concerned, of whom there are two. The Under-Secretaries of State in both those Departments are here today and I am glad to see them. The Bill does not require the authority to consult the Secretaries of State or other experts. Neither does it require changes which might affect their decision to be taken into account.

At one stage in my career I was in the Army, where I was taught that one had to take into account factors which might affect a decision. Those factors change in war and change in peace. The arguments being deployed this afternoon are that factors have changed and that they must be taken into account, in wartime by generals and in peacetime by Ministers, and all the time in the House of Commons.

The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins), rightly using the House of Commons as a place for the exchange of argument and for the production of an answer to an argument, in a remarkable intervention spoke of the need for strong Government. I go further and say that today, above all, there is need for a strong House of Commons. The public are looking to Parliament to show strength, even if this is the first time in the history of this Parliament that the House of Commons has determined to be strong.

I was determined to be strong, up to a point, when I made my Second Reading speech, but I was not strong enough. I abstained on that occasion, and have let the Bill run its course. It has been said that it has been thoroughly examined in Select Committee. I have read the proceedings of the Standing Committee and it was thoroughly examined there.

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment has always shown the greatest courtesy to me and my colleagues in Kent and Essex in carrying us along with his problems and explaining to us what he was doing, but today I have a duty as a Member of Parliament to my constituents which transcends my duty to support my Government. We are being asked to support a proposal the argument for which has not been properly based and properly developed, and has been shown to have great gaps in it. I will not say that the argument is entirely wrong, because I do not know all the facts, but from all the facts that I have been able to find and have heard in debate I am not convinced that the Government have taken into account the changes that are happening and could happen if the Government were to devote more energy to making further interventions in aviation and aerospace developments towards the quieter engine.

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State has spoken of this airport as the first environmental airport. That is an attractive phrase. People in aviation, and others, would like to think that this was also an economic airport, but the airlines, the British Airports Authority, many other advisers and most of the serious Press have questioned whether it ever can be an economic airport. We have a duty in this place not only to preserve the environment but to balance the preservation of the environment with the achievement of economic progress. We cannot forget either one or the other.

The Government seem to be intent on proceeding with their plans to build an airport at Maplin. For some years there has been considerable debate on and extensive study of the third London airport. We know that Roskill did not recommend that the third London airport should be at Maplin. We know that the airlines and the British Airports Authority advised against it. But the Government have decided to build at Maplin this environmental, if not economic, airport.

The Government have given as their reason the fact that Maplin is intended to relieve the population around Heathrow and Gatwick of the terrible problem of noise. I would not be making a plea this afternoon, as one who will be living within 12 miles of Maplin, if I did not recognise the problem—a problem which I shall be taking over perhaps from other hon. Members and their constituents who suffer today around the other London Airports. I cannot say more than that I recognise that they have a very strong case to be heard and to be registered in the Lobby. Maplin is a colossally expensive substitute for Heathrow and Gatwick, and we must ask whether it is well to spend money in this way.

We must not stop the Government doing what is right if it will relieve the 2.1 million people around Heathrow who are affected by the 35 NNI line. If my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel) doubts the accuracy of the NNI measurement, I remind him it is the one that is used to show the footprint of noise made by an aircraft and throws up the alarming figure around Heathrow of over 2 million people affected in 1973. I say that it is a colossal expense to go to Maplin; we must therefore ask whether it is justified.

We know that the Maplin site is wrong from an aviation point of view. It is 55 miles away from the centre of London and is disliked by all the airlines in the world—particularly by our two nationalised airlines which have invested several hundred million pounds in engineering installations at Heathrow and Gatwick. Those airlines will be coming to this House and saying to the Minister "If we go to Maplin we shall want to be subsidised". This House will one day be asked to provide several hundred million pounds extra to move BEA and BOAC to Maplin. Mr. Nicholson, the Chairman of the British Airways Board, told me that there can be no question of operating the major airlines with two engineering bases; there can be only one.

We know that experts have condemned Maplin, but in the fashionable name of "the environment" we shall give the new authority to be created by this Bill the power to spend £1,000 million, and some have said that the figure will he as much as £2,000 million. There will be no constraints on that authority, no duty to consult or to take advice. There will be no power to stay its hand should we find that the expenditure is not justified. There will be no duty upon the authority to consult Ministers. There will be no opportunity for the House of Commons to say "Wait a moment—things have changed."

It is quite possible that the Minister for Aerospace and Shipping may come to the House in future, perhaps even within a year, and tell the House in some excitement of a major new development. Only last week I read in the Daily Telegraph of such a development. The development involved a prototype jet engine to cut noise by half. That project was based on the Rolls-Royce M45 engine and is tagged the "ultra-quiet" unit development programme. I shall not bore the House with all the details, and I am sure my hon. Friend will know all about that project, but it envisages an entirely new development involving a quieter jet engine produced by a new process which makes it possible for the jet roar to be reduced considerably on both landing and take-off. Such an engine—which, I am told, can be developed in large engines—could make completely old-fashioned the idea of reverse thrust. Therefore, we seem to be on the verge of a breakthrough without any pressure so far from the Government, or indeed much pressure from the House of Commons.

What does my hon. Friend the Minister for Aerospace and Shipping think about these developments? I think he owes it to the House of Commons to give us his view. What does my hon. Friend and his colleagues know about what is on the stocks for the next five, 10 or 15 years ahead? Is there anything exciting to which we may look forward? The RB 211 has already caused some excitement because of its quietness. Is there something even quieter to come?

These factors must affect our decisions today. The right hon. Member for Stechford believes that we should not throw out this idea altogether, but he believes that it is wise to delay matters for at least five years. If we do so we should not lose anything, and hon. Members and their constituents who live around Heathrow and Gatwick will lose nothing at all if that happens.

The Department of Trade and Industry has published figures about the effect of noise from aircraft in the years ahead to 1985. Admittedly, the announcement was made with the quietness of a modern jet engine, and we have seen very little and heard very little about it, but the figures which have been issued predict a reduction in the average noise per aircraft of about 9.8 perceived noise decibels, which is the standard measurement used in NNI work. This is a considerable reduction in terms of the number of people affected by noise. I am referring to aircraft which will be in use in 1985, not the 707s or the earlier Tridents, which, by then would be out of use and redundant.

Mr. Allason


Mr. Crouch

I would tell my hon. Friend that it is estimated by most aviation people that in 1985 the earlier Tridents and 707s will have had their day and we shall be dealing with aircraft such the 747s—the jumbo—jet-and the new TriStar.

Mr. Allason

The information I have is that at least 42 per cent. of the air movements at Heathrow in 1986 will consist of older types of aircraft, such as Tridents, DC9s and 747s, of which my hon. Friend has spoken as being quiet.

Mr. Crouch

I shall not labour the point about one or two degrees in the number of perceived noise decibels and all the rest of it. I think I have made my point. The figures issued by the Department of Trade and Industry show that by 1985 the quietness of aircraft operating at Heathrow and Gatwick will be about half what the figure is today. These are based only on conservative figures, assuming that there is no new development in aircraft engines for the next 12 or 13 years. If those figures envisage a reduction of half, we must remember that the population round Heathrow and Gatwick seriously affected by noise at the moment amounts to over two million. The figures show that in 1985 the population affected to some degree would be reduced by one-sixth—in other words, by around 350,000 people. That is a dramatic reduction of the overall problem. It is a factor which must give us pause today. It would give us some years to take these factors into account, and would give the Minister an opportunity to consult the authorities.

To sum up my argument, I maintain—calling in aid the Department of Trade and Industry figures—that there will be sufficient runway space at Heathrow and Gatwick to meet all the demands in 1985 for aircraft movements. This is shown in the Civil Aviation Authority's report I am also saying that in 1985 the noise would be half that which is experienced today. There is no case now for a third London airport, there is no case for Maplin, and there is no case for spending £1,000 million or even £2,000 million so recklessly. There only remains a case for this adventure to get into the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest airport in the world, perhaps the biggest white elephant or perhaps the preservation of the most ridiculous sacred cow ever dreamt of by any Government.

6.30 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

This debate has bean taking place in the House ever since I first came here in 1964. Until now the argument has not been whether there should be a third London airport but where it should be. Today, for the first time, its opponents are beginning to come out in their true colours. They are saying that they do not care because they do not want a third London airport at all. This is a new position for my right hon. and hon. Friends. Over the years I have been telling my constituents with the full authority of my own Front Bench that their relief would come when we got the third London airport, and that the only question in doubt was where it was to be.

My constituents have always asked me whether nothing else could be done, and, to be fair, successive Ministers first at the Board of Trade and now at the Department of Trade and Industry have done their best. They have tried to change the form of landing, shifting it from one runway to another. They have tried to invent minimum noise routes. But they have not been able to get over the fundamental difficulty that all the time they are trying to pour a quart into a pint pot.

Heathrow is the only airport in the world where more than 2 million people are overflown every day. The trivial arguments which have been put forward to suggest that a third London airport is not necessary are fundamentally fallacious. Of course it is necessary.

Simply because we do not like the proposed site for the new London airport, we appear to be arriving at a position where my own Front Bench are saying that we do not need a third London airport. That seems to overturn everything that they have said in the past. The basis upon which they say that we no longer need a third London airport seems to be a pretty shallow one.

Like the argument put forward by Professor Alan Day and by Flowerdew, the present argument against a third London airport rests upon the Noise and Number Index, which is a completely subjective measurement. It has no mathematical basis, although a huge mathematical structure is erected upon it. However, if the basis is fallacious the mathematics can be of no value. That is the falsity of the Day and Flowerdew argument.

I believe that it has been gat right by Professor Richardson. The Noise and Number Index underestimates the importance of numbers. The Government are beginning to look into this NNI figure and shortly, I believe, they will come out with more refined figures placing more emphasis on numbers. However, every personal experience and psychological examination shows that it is the frequency factor which upsets people and gets under their skin. It is not a case of a noise two or three times a day. It is every minute of the day. It is that factor which is not overridden by these arguments.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) said that we should not go into this substantial public expenditure at this time on the basis of that argument. However, that was the argument when my right hon. Friend was in favour of a third London airport. It would always have been an expensive project. It could not have been done for peanuts even at Cublington. At any time it would have required substantial national resources. For my constituents it has always been right to do it, and it is not possible for me now to go to them saying that we do not need a third London airport at Maplin or anywhere else.

There are only two airports serving London now. It is said that the aircraft operators will not want to go to Maplin. However, it is said in the next breath that all will be well if the operators are sent to the Midlands or somewhere else. Of course it will be possible to price landings so as to make one airport more attractive than another. Furthermore, those arguments do not overcome the fact that the country is badly under-airported. We need and must have a third airport within reasonable range of the capital city.

Mr. Wilkinson

The hon. Gentleman has said that there are only two airports serving the London region. However, he is doing his own argument a disservice when he excludes the BAA airport at Stansted, which in passenger terms has had the greatest percentage growth of any airport in the south-eastern region.

Mr. Jenkins

Of course it is possible to get a very heavy percentage on a small base. Stansted's total contribution in itself is relatively small. I think that the two major airports are the main consideration. Furthermore, I do not deny that for charter flights in the summer a contribution is also made by Luton. However, that does not defeat my general argument.

I differ from those who question whether this is the right way to spend public money and the right time to do it. There is an argument that we have been over-generous, almost profligate, in the expenditure of public money in the past. It is questionable to spend huge sums on a project which is likely to need continuous subsidy if it is to operate. I refer, of course, to the Concorde. However, when we examine whether the expenditure at present under discussion is justified it is relevant to compare one with another. That is precisely what we are doing all the time. We have to consider the huge public expense involved and its justification in terms of the relief which will be given to people at present incommoded by noise. I think that it must be justified because it is a reasonable thing to do in itself. We have been saying so for eight years. Only now do we ask whether it is necessary.

Since the Bill was given a Second Reading, I have searched anxiously to see whether there was some way in which I could find a means of not getting myself into a position of total opposition to my right hon. and hon. Friends. It is uncomfortable to fine oneself in isolation. The hon. and learned Member for Lincoln (Mr. Taverne) probably knows that feeling better than anyone.

I have been studying the three new clauses. New Clause 1 makes it a duty of the Maplin Development Authority to consult the Civil Aviation Authority and the British Airports Authority about the likely future levels of aircraft noise. I question whether the CAA and the BAA are likely to come up with statements about aircraft noise such as we might get from the Noise Advisory Council. I rather doubt it. I do not believe that those bodies have the necessary degree of impartiality on the subject.

The second part of new Clause 1 imposes a duty on the authority to consult the National Ports Council about the likely effect of the seaport development. I am wholly in favour of that proposition. For that reason, I cannot vote against the new clause. It means that I shall have to abstain.

New Clause 2 concerns a project which I think can be supported. It reads: It shall be the duty of the Civil Aviation Authority…to keep under constant review technical developments", and so on. There is no harm in that.

New Clause 3, to consult with the National Ports Council and the appropriate Minister on the implications for Great Britain's ports of the development of a major seaport ", can also be supported.

I have never subscribed to the view that there is an urgent and overriding necessity for a new seaport in the South-East, but if it is done incidentally there may be something to be said for it. However, there is an absolute necessity for a third London airport. This necessity has in no way been disproved by anything that has been said in this or any other debate about the best place for it being Maplin. I have no doubt whatsoever about this proposition.

Mr. Burden

I was somewhat surprised to hear the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) refer to this as an aviation debate, but I think he was justified as there has been little mention of what the Bill really provides. It clearly states that it is To provide for the reclamation from the sea of certain land for the purpose of the establishment of an airport and a seaport in south-east Essex". Therefore, despite the intervention of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State, the assumption must be that we are debating not only an airport but a seaport, and I have been surprised at the concentration upon the airport aspect of the Bill to the exclusion of the seaport.

We have heard a tremendous amount of discussion about noise. I have been greatly surprised at the remarks made by some hon. Members who have gone to great lengths to point out that in a short time, certainly before Maplin could become operative, there will be almost no noise problem and, therefore, there is no need for a third London airport to ease the problems of people living near Heathrow.

I thought that my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch) absolutely boxed the compass in this matter. Early in his speech he stated that he was living only 12 miles from where it was suggested that the new Maplin airport should be placed and that if it were placed there the noise would become intolerable. My hon. Friend ended his speech by saying that the noise element is being dissipated by the fact that Rolls-Royce has just introduced a new engine which, to quote his words, "would cut noise by a half". If so, he should have no objection based on noise to the construction of an airport at Maplin.

Mr. Crouch

The point that I was endeavouring to make was whether we were justified in spending £1,000 million to relieve us of noise when it was being relieved by the development of quieter engines.

Mr. Burden

I quoted my hon. Friend's words. He is wriggling now. I quoted him accurately as he began and finished his speech.

6.45 p.m.

Is it necessary to have a third London airport? I suggest that the Labour Government set up the Roskill Commission because, on all the advice available to them, it was necessary to have a third London airport. They set up Roskill to determine where that airport should be sited. It was not so long ago that Roskill was set up—1968—and it reported in 1971. The commission must have taken into serious consideration during its deliberation and investigations what was likely to happen in the next 10, 15 or 20 years. We cannot assume otherwise. Therefore, we are justified in assuming that at that time and until it reported the Roskill Commission had every reason to believe that a third London airport was necessary. Indeed, the Labour Government were of the same opinion because they set up the commission and asked it to determine where that airport should be placed.

I find it difficult to believe that suddenly, within two years, circumstances have changed so dramatically that we in this House can override all the investigations and the knowledge set out in the Roskill Report. Therefore, I must assume that a third London airport is still necessary.

We heard from hon. Members who are bitterly opposed to Maplin because of noise say that the great noise nuisance will disappear before the airport comes into operation. Therefore, I suggest that these are wrecking clauses.

We come to another point which believe is extremely important. If we have a third London airport inland, it will require many acres of agricultural or other land that is already in use and involve the development of extensive communications to that area. According to the Bill, the 16,000 acres of land for the airport at Maplin will be reclaimed entirely from the sea, as will the land for the seaport. That means the conservation of an enormous amount of land already in use somewhere in this country which can still be used for the purposes for which it is now being used—agriculture, housing, villages. But if a third London airport were created inland it would disturb more areas than will be the case if the land for the airport at Maplin is reclaimed from the sea.

Mr. Jay

Is the hon. Gentleman allowing for the land which will be needed for the new town to be built for Maplin?

Mr. Burden

I will deal with that point in a moment. The right hon. Gentleman said that we could probably do away with Southend, Luton and Stanstead and that so much of the land that is now being used for airports in those places could be used for housing, agriculture and other purposes and there would, therefore, be a considerable saving.

Mr. Ronald Bell

Is it not also true that if we build a new town at Maplin we can accommodate people there who would otherwise have to be accommodated in other areas?

Mr. Burden

I am sure that I shall be covering the points in which interest is being shown.

We have heard—this is an extraordinary situation in view of what was decided in the past—that people will want to use only Heathrow. We all want to use our cars everywhere in London. We all want to leave them on yellow lines. In future the airlines will have to conform to the pattern that is required by the economy in the national interest. We have heard a lot about passenger aircraft but little about air freighting. There will be an enormous growth in air freighting in the future, and growth there, in my view, will certainly make the third London airport absolutely necessary.

I want to turn for a moment to the complex which will include the seaport. I do so deliberately because I attended a symposium put on by the Port of London Authority and it was made perfectly clear to me that the present Port of London is rapidly becoming obsolescent because of the complete change in the standards and the nature of world shipping. It is evident to me that if London is to retain any measure of shipping whatsoever we must have a deep-water port, and Maplin is the right and proper place for it. But it is not only a matter of London retaining shipping; if we are to retain it in the national interest we must have that new deep-water port to preserve what we have and create growth. The seaport is inevitably part of this complex. The Government have made it perfectly clear that they will not allow the major industrial growth, which so many of my hon. and right hon. Friends fear.

I went to Rotterdam and talked to people there and they are very concerned that we should have a new deep-water port at Maplin because they consider it would encroach upon the trade they are rapidly taking from us through handling the big container ships that cannot come to London. At the same time they are amazed at the apparent reluctance of the people of this country to reclaim land from the sea. They look upon doing that not as folly but as great wisdom. They have been doing it for a long time, and I believe that we are rapidly approaching an era in which we shall look at land reclamation in the same way.

I would also point out that if it is essential for us to have a new airport and also a new deepwater port, it is common sense that they should be close together. Are we to have two swathes cut in the land to create road and rail communications in two different areas? Is it not common sense from the point of view of cost, from the point of view of conserving land, and from the point of view of the environment that those communications should serve both the seaport and the airport? I believe that both the airport and the seaport are necessary and that time will show that Foulness is the right project, and I hope that the Government will go ahead with it.

Mr. Nigel Spearing (Acton)

I think, with great respect, that too many of the speeches we have heard this afternoon have been Second Reading speeches again. I do not intend to make one of those, and I hope my contribution will be short. I wish to address my remarks to new Clause 2.

I lived and worked under the Heathrow flight path for some 13 years before joining this House, mainly in the constituency of the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins). I agree with a limited development at Maplin, which would relieve the noise problem at the London airports, but the Bill, and the Government's scheme, is not a limited scheme for that purpose but something which is very different as I shall seek to show when we discuss Amendment No. 2.

The argued necessity has two classifications. One is the necessity for noise relief, with which I go along, and the second is the necessity for coping with air traffic overflow. In the speeches we have heard today there has not been sufficient distinction between the two criteria.

The first point I would make is on the question of noise relief. It is assumed that if we have the new airport there will be noise relief at Heathrow and Gatwick, but the CAA report published in May gives us no hope that that will necessarily follow at all because it points out that airlines, if left to their own devices, will use Maplin only at times when the other runways are already full. Meantime, the CAA prophesies, in off-peak periods, which are far the longest, the runways at Heathrow and Gatwick will continue to to be used to a greater extent than now. So the noise nuisance in those areas will be greater and not less than at the moment, even were Maplin opened.

That problem could be solved by diversion to Maplin by the Government but there is nothing in the Bill to say that will happen and no bankable assurance or undertaking has been given to that effect. Therefore there is nothing in this Bill that will give relief to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jesse) and his constituents, or the hon. Member for Putney and his constituents, or my constituents. I submit that the question of the necessity for Maplin on noise grounds is not proven because the Government have not given any assurance that Maplin would necessarily mean less noise elsewhere.

I come to the other question, the need for Maplin because of air traffic. The CAA report shows that by 1981 one runway will be necessary and by 1985 two runways will he required. Table 7.16 of the report refers to this. It depends on other factors, the main one being the forecast which the CAA makes that the number of people per aircraft in 1985 will average 175. Civil aviation circles generally feel that that is a very low figure indeed; it has even been described as an unrealistically low figure. What if that number goes up? The calculations have, I understand, been made, and if the Government do not know what they are I hope the Minister will tell us. I understand that if loadings went up only by 25 per aircraft, up to 200, there would be no need for Maplin on the overflow basis by 1985 at all. If the number went up to 225 per aircraft I understand it would mean that not only could the existing airfields cope with the traffic but Luton could be closed and the others could still cope. I challenge the Minister on this point, and to tell me, if he has the figures, whether that is correct or whether it is wrong. He should be able to tell us because it is the bounden duly of the Government to find out these things and whether Maplin would be necessary if the occupancy of aircraft went up as I have suggested.

Another factor under new Clause 2 is the proportion of people using the London area airports who do not reside there and are not going to areas outside South-East England. These figures have never been properly published. I understand that the Roskill figures were determined on people reaching the London airports—that is, Luton, Stansted, Southend, Gatwick, Heathrow—by surface means, but that no proper survey has yet been undertaken of people reaching the London airports by air and transferring, principally at Heathrow. I understand that the present traffic at Heathrow and the other London airports is no less than one-third from outside London and the South-East area. If that is so it means that there are a considerable number of people who could go to provincial airports.

Why do they not at the moment? There is one factor which undermines the whole of the Roskill findings. I have been told by people who should know that it is cheaper for a travel agent, particularly one concerned with bulk charter travel—which is a growth area of the business—to put people in coaches in Birmingham, Newcastle or Manchester and send them down to the existing airports than to fly them down from Manchester, Newcastle or Birmingham. That means that a considerable proportion not only of the present but of the projected traffic for the London airports is being sent to London in that way because of the simple economic fact that it is cheaper.

Mr. Tebbit

I think that the hon. Gentleman knows my feelings about the Maplin project and he will not feel that I am trying to shoot him down if I suggest that he should not overdo this argument, since it applies almost exclusively to traffic at Luton, as opposed to Heathrow and Gatwick.

7.0 p.m.

Mr. Spearing

I would concede that Luton is very much a case in point, but we are talking about the next 10, 15 or 20 years, when the charter business is likely to be the larger growth sector in absolute terms—in particular, the part-charter traffic, when these new large aircraft flying scheduled services will have half or a third of their capacity reserved for charter work. This will mean that the proportion of charter work at Heathrow will go up considerably. So the hon. Gentleman's argument as it relates to Heathrow, is turned on its head.

The points that I have raised are important and relevant factors which so far the Government, and, indeed, all concerned in this argument—even the media—have ignored. I believe that there are others that we shall consider in the debate, but these factors alone should demand the support of every hon. Member for new Clauses 1 and 2 and, if they think fit, for new Clause 3.

Mr. Kenneth Warren (Hastings)

I believe that Roskill proved the need for a third London airport and I believe that that need is still sustained. I have heard nothing today to make me change my mind on that basic fact. But I am disturbed by the general secrecy which seems gradually to be enveloping the Maplin project. There is a need for information, and we do not seem to be able to get the information we want.

New Clauses 1 and 2 in their detail illustrate the expectation of hon. Members that more information will be forthcoming in this debate from the Minister. None of us would want to vote for expenditure on an airport anywhere which is not justified, or to vote and find later that we have not been given all the information which is available in the offices of various Ministries and which should be deployed in the House. I would illustrate this by posing three questions which have not been answered at any time when Maplin has been considered.

First, what are the facts about the cost of this project? On what figures has the Treasury been working? There seems a vast range of figures of millions of pounds, none of which has been agreed to by any two hon. Members.

Second, what does the Department of Trade and Industry really know about the ability of London Airport and other airports around London to handle the prospective traffic in the 1980s? It is reported that the Civil Aviation Authority has a plan to double the number of flights going into London Airport. It says that it has new methods of doing this. Is it the Governments policy to try to help the CAA to do this? This has a fundamental effect on Maplin and its timing.

Third, what does the Department of the Environment intend about the overland routes to Maplin, not only from London but those connecting Maplin with the Midlands and the Channel Tunnel, and about the whole problem of orbital roads around London? What are its proposals for these routes? It has been very coy about whether there will be only roads or rail as well. Will there be some other special form of highspeed transportation? The DOE will not tell us. The DTI has cancelled a project in this direction in the last few months.

I thought until today that this development would include a seaport. I believed this because the Long Title of the Bill said that it concerned, among other things, the granting of planning permission required for the construction and operation of the airport and the seaport; and for purposes connected with those matters. So it was not unfair to assume that we were talking about an integrated system of transportation between air, land and sea. To find that there is now some doubt at this late stage is a revelation to me, as it may also be to other hon. Members.

I had believed all along that one of the merits of Maplin, as opposed to the other sites where we could have had a third London airport, was that it could provide the interfaces which had been so difficult to get at Heathrow between air freight and sea freight coming into the Port of London.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

I am anxious to help my hon. Friend. What we are discussing is a Bill to create an authority whose purpose will be the reclamation of land. It will be for the responsible Ministers to determine, subject to the advice and consultation that they must take, when the seaport or airport should go ahead on that land.

My hon. Friend mentioned planning permission. What he says is true, but if he gets planning permission for a new house it does not necessarily follow that he goes ahead immediately. He would judge the time for going ahead in the light of his circumstances.

Mr. Warren

I am grateful for that intervention. It has helped me a lot in detail but, unfortunately, not in general. My problem is that I had thought we were talking about a total project of airport and seaport. I agree that the timing may be a matter for later debate and can be modified, but this has a fundamental effect on the merit of Maplin as a site.

Sir Bernard Braine

Would not my hon. Friend agree that what the Minister has just said is the most astonishing statement that has been made on this subject so far? It now leaves in some doubt the question whether land to be reclaimed is to be used not merely for the airport but also for a seaport. This begs the question that my constituents will ask: for what other purposes could that land be used? If it is industrial, this is something to which we are utterly and completely opposed.

Mr. Warren


Mr. Eldon Griffiths

Would my hon. Friend allow me? I am sorry to intervene in an intervention in his speech. This is all spelled out very clearly in the Bill.

Mr. Warren


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)

Before the hon. Gentleman resumes his speech, perhaps I might draw attention to the fact that what we are discussing are the new clauses.

Mr. Warren

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker; I am most grateful. It is indeed in these new clauses that I see the need for more information of a kind that has not yet been given in the House.

However, having challenged my own Front Bench colleagues to produce information, I also have reason to defend them against some of the science-fiction technology which has been showered upon them today. There seems to be a general belief abroad in the House that, if we talk about aircraft noise, it will go away. This problem will remain with us. I criticise the Government for not having taken much of the action they should have taken some years ago in order to get a planned system for noise reduction in the operation of British airports, to the general benefit of tile community, particularly in the London area.

For instance, the aircraft which will fly into Maplin are flying today. All the improvements that can be made to the existing engines of those aircraft will not bring down the noise they make to anything like the levels that many hon. Members appear to believe are technically possible.

I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-East (Mr. Adley) is no longer here, because I can illustrate this by means of the example he gave of the improvement in the length of runway needed by two aircraft. He said that the DC8 needed 11,000 ft. to get off the ground safely and that the 707 needed only 9,700 ft. But my hon. Friend failed to quote the fact that, in that development, the amount of noise of those two aircraft types had gone up. For instance, on the approach, two miles out from touchdown at London Airport, something which comes into a consideration of the new clause, these two aircraft would turn in levels of 117 and 121 decibels respectively. Even if one were able to cut their noise by half by the use of hush kits, that is a reduction of only five or six decibels, not the 60 decibels that many people believe, and that gets us nowhere near the expectation of many people about noise levels.

Mr. Tebbit

Our hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Wilkinson) referred not to the 707 but to the 747. If my hon. Friend the Member for Hastings (Mr. Warren) thinks that the aircraft which will be operating into Maplin when it opens somewhere in the 1980s will be all the same aircraft that are operating today, he has singularly little faith in either the Boeing project or the Hawker Siddeley project, or the new BAC project which will actually be flying in 10 years' time.

Mr. Warren

I am grateful for that intervention. I do not believe that I misheard my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-East—not one of the Bradford constituencies—and even the 747 is still above the noise levels that people believe are tolerable. People should not be led astray into the qualitative feeling that science can do something to reduce aircraft noise to tolerable levels. At the moment we do not know how to do it, and we should not be misled or mislead the public on the matter.

I believe that the sponsors of the new clauses are looking for a lead from the Government to overcome the scientific fact that, if we cannot reduce noise, we must do something else to make it go away. The hon. and learned Member for Lincoln (Mr. Taverne) made the sensible suggestion of introducing differential landing charges to take account of the way in which noise could be modulated. The Government should go beyond this and set noise limits, not in the future but now. We cannot await Maplin. The whole problem of living in London is already quite intolerable. Noisy aircraft could easily be routed away, and not only from the London area, to more remote areas from big towns and cities.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-East, quoted from a Canadian newspaper another piece of science fiction which must be commented upon. He said that in the newspaper the statement was made that revolutionary new aircraft and quieter engines were just around the corner. I do not know where that corner is, but I think it is a long way off.

This afternoon we have had references to the Europlane and the HS146. We hope that there will be Government backing, but at the moment these projects are only on drawing boards and in brochures. If the Government are to give the impression that these aircraft will come along just because they are talked of, they will be misleading the public and, I fear, sometimes ourselves.

More and more, when people talk about the Europlane and the HS146, they are talking of aircraft which are not of the type one would expect to find operating out of Maplin. They are not intercontinental or transatlantic aircraft, and they are incapable of operating economically over ranges of more than a few hundred miles. So when we talk about the 707, the 747, the DC8 or the Concorde, we are talking of quite different kinds of transportation, and we must not mislead ourselves in this way.

On the general subject of what can be done about the noise, I challenge the Government to do something more than simply say that they are investing a lot of money in the RB211, which is a quiet engine, and so on, and generally funding investigation of quieter flight. The hon. and learned Member for Lincoln is too optimistic. Somewhere or other he has read a salesman's brochure saying that hush kits are available and will reduce the noise. There is not enough Government-sponsored research and development going on to bring about this reality in the hardware. Further, the Government ought to recognise that they they have a duty to introduce legislation to make sure that aircraft are fitted with these kits, even if the passengers eventually have to pay for flying in quieter aircraft.

7.15 p.m.

The feeling seems to be that if only we talk about these things the passengers will go away—perhaps they will; someone suggested that they will go to Paris instead of to London—the idea being that if the passengers go away the aircraft will go with them. This country should not set itself up as being something totally different from other European countries. Every other European country is making tremendous strides towards recognising the growth of air transportation. We cannot exempt ourselves from that growth: it will arrive on our doorstep. The growth of air transportation is increasing by 14 per cent. per annum, an absolutely startling rate of growth. It cannot be any consolation to the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Spearing) to know this.

In its first 10 years of operation Maplin will be subjected to the general world growth quoted by the International Air Transport Association, that growth, moving up from 900 million passengers being flown in the world in 1980 to an estimated 2,000 million passengers in 1990. Maplin will be right in the middle of this difficult type of growth, and it would be misleading to accept the advice of the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) that one could spend some £15 million or £20 million to ease the problem at the existing London airports. There is not the space or the capability to accept those passengers.

I therefore come to the conclusion that the passengers will be with us in ever-increasing numbers. The general public will demand to fly, and if the general public have to travel a long way in order to fly from Maplin it is not an unfair penalty to impose upon them. I see nothing wrong in that. If members of the general public want to fly at any time of day or night, they must accept regulation as to where or how they will travel.

It is up to the Government not to find solace in what seems to be just one back bencher so far speaking in their support but to rush into the trenches themselves and fire over the parapet the information which I and others desperately need.

Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles)

The closing words of the hon. Member for Hastings (Mr. Warren) were most significant. He is indeed the only uninterested back-bench speaker on the Government side to support the Government, yet his speech from beginning to send was replete with questions, doubts and queries.

The House should consider the change that has taken place in our debates on this subject over the last three years, because it reflects public opinion. When we debated the issue in 1971 it was a very hot debate but it was mainly about where the airport should go. Different hon. Members advocated different sites, but very few hon. Members on that occasion, and I was one, queried whether we needed a third airport at all. In February of this year there was a significant shift of opinion and tonight that shift has gone further with the new evidence monthly coming before the House and the public, and more and more Members attending the debate though not necessarily taking part in it, but with furrowed brows, wondering whether we are doing the right thing. That is a significant political development.

For that reason, the Government would be very wise to accept all or some of these new clauses because they state that it is right that there should be statutory consultation which would echo the growing fear and anxiety which the House and the public have about the basic merits of the project. That is the strength of the case behind the new clauses. It is right that the Maplin Development Authority should consult precisely because of the doubts we have had throughout, and the doubts which have grown over the years about the need for a third London airport at all.

It is significant that the Civil Aviation Authority has said that it would be perfectly possible to extend the capacity of the existing London airports for all foreseeable needs beyond 1985. It is significant also that its report concluded that the one runway envisaged at Maplin by 1980 would make little difference to the total airport capacity for London.

What is more, taking into account the studies of Mr. Flowerdew and Professor Alan Day on the dramatic decrease which will inevitably be achieved in noise levels at Heathrow and Gatwick, we can see that all the argument advanced to us over the years in support of the case for a third London airport—in other words, the case for Maplin—has virtually been eroded.

I agree with the comments of the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Sir Bernard Braine) when he referred to the Minister's remarks about the seaport being in doubt. I admit that that is new to me, too. If it is in doubt, if there is no decision about the seaport, presumably all the arithmetic and financial figures about which we have been talking relate only to the airport. Presumably, therefore, we must add to all the figures given for the airport figures for the seaport as well, figures which we have not been given, as well as all the figures for road and rail communications. In the circumstances, it seems that those who have bandied about a figure of £2,000 million, which I at first thought must be a gross exaggeration, may well be right, and that may indeed be the total scale of public expenditure to which we are asked to commit ourselves.

I was glad that the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. R. C. Mitchell) mentioned the views of the British Transport Docks Board, which has indicated that already, for less than £10 million, it could develop container berths which, in the words of the chairman of the board, would be but a drop in the bucket compared with the Maplin development. We understand from the board that most of the land has already been reclaimed, the bridges are built, and the access roads are already there.

Thus, from every standpoint, from the airport angle and the seaport angle, it seems that the Maplin project is coming increasingly into doubt. The new clauses, therefore, are highly relevant.

In passing, I repeat the view which I put in 1971, that the biggest single objection—I speak as a Scottish Member from a development area—can be put in this way. How on earth are we to go to the European Community and ask for a big slice for our backward regions from the regional fund which it is setting up if we propose at the same time to spend this vast sum of money in what is already an overheated part of our national economy, and, what is more, at a time when the Government themselves appear ready to back a Channel Tunnel project which will have its own consequences on the movement of both people and freight in and out of this country?

The Government must stand or fall on an examination of their stewardship of public expenditure. Fundamentally, that is what we are here in the House for. This is what makes this series of debates so interesting, for now the House of Commons is becoming more and more anxious about the wisdom of the decision to make this vast public expenditure. We are aware that small elements of public expenditure on the development of hush kits and on research and development into aircraft noise could bring more and more relief to those hard pressed areas referred to by the hon. Members who represent them.

The Government should note that the friends of Maplin in the House are a rapidly dwindling body, largely composed now only of Members who represent constituencies under the flight paths of the existing airports and are motivated—most of them, not all—by a wholly understandable but, I believe, mistaken belief that the only way to relieve the suffering of their constituents is to spend this vast sum at Maplin. That case has not been proved by the Government.

Since the environmental grounds have shifted, since the development of less noisy aircraft and less noisy engines is now upon us, since the aviation grounds for the original decision have shifted with the development both of the wide-bodied aircraft and of the view among the airlines that they do not want to go to Maplin anyway, and since the economic grounds also have shifted, with greater emphasis now on regional development, and the Government's attitude towards the Channel Tunnel, the Government must reflect again on the basic wisdom of their decision.

I end on one note of disagreement with the hon. Member for Bristol, North-East (Mr. Adley), who remarked that this was not a political issue, echoed, somewhat surprisingly, by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins).

Mr. Adley

Not a party-political issue.

Mr. Steel

Not a party-political issue. I agree that that has been so until now, but I think that hon. Members on the Government side should be aware that if the Government tonight steam-roller through their decision by a majority in spite of the intelligent contributions made in the debate by their back benchers, not just Ministers on the Front Bench today but the entire Conservative Party will have to answer for the decision at the next election.

Mr. Allason

I welcome the opportunity which the debate gives for a discussion of aircraft noise, since the problem of aircraft noise has formed the background and the reason for the development of Maplin airport. In the search for a third London airport, Cublington was considered. I assure those of my hon. Friends who may doubt it that the opposition to Cublington as the site did not come only from a few wealthy people who did not want interference with their amenities. There was a strong genuine popular feeling among everyone in my constituency and constituencies even closer to Cublington that it was quite unacceptable to have more—

Sir Stephen McAdden (Southend, East)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Does the question of Cublington come within the new clauses under debate?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I understand that the debate has already gone very wide. While it is undoubtedly the wish of the House to remain within the ambit of the new clauses, I think that hon. Members may wish to make rather special points, of which this may be one.

Mr. Allason

I believe that this question is directly related to the Maplin question, Mr. Deputy Speaker. In the first place, Luton Airport is the alternative to Cublington. The Government and the nation having decided that Cublington was unacceptable, we now have Luton Airport doing as much environmental damage as Cublington would ever have done, and the alternative to Cublington is Maplin.

There is definite need for a sea site, because the real damage caused by an airport occurs in take-off and landing. We are not asking for take-off and landing to be over the land. We are asking for them to be over the sea. This is the essential factor, for it is at that stage that the damage is done.

I suggest that those who claim to know about aircraft noise should consider their qualifications. They should spend at least a month living under the flight paths at either Luton or Gatwick, by day and by night, and understand how ghastly it is to have shattering noise overhead hour after hour. The people who know about that are much more entitled to speak.

Mr. Adley

We understand that, of course. I lived for nearly 10 years at Sunningdale, which, I believe, is more than 10 miles to the west of Heathrow Airport, where the aircraft accelerate after they leave their noise abatement procedures. Realising that, realising what the problem was 10 miles away, and realising what it could mean for the people of Kent and Essex, I was led to the conclusion that the only way to tackle it is at source by removing the noise.

Mr. Allason

I am obliged to my hon. Friend for that, but he will realise that the take-off and landing will be out over the sea at Maplin. Once an aircraft is at about 8,000 feet, it ceases to have the devastating effect which the low-flying aircraft creates. Any aircraft over Essex or Kent will, I guess, be at 8,000 feet at least. Perhaps we could have some information about that.

Sir Bernard Braine

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. Allason

I do not think that I should, in view of the time.

Sir Bernard Braine

Then my hon. Friend should not talk about something he does not understand

Mr. Allason

I believe that I understand this a great deal better than my hon. Friend does. I live under the flight path of Luton Airport, and my hon. Friend does not have that unhappy experience.

We have heard a great deal about quiet engines. The aircraft industry itself talks of quiet engines. We have heard hon. Members suggesting this afternoon that engines will be only half as noisy and that this will solve the problem. It does not solve the problem at all.

Mr. Wilkinson

Of course it does.

Mr. Allason

It does not. In my constituency noise measurement is taken about 10 miles from Luton Airport. For a BAC 1–11 the average noise level by night is 106 PNdB. That is above the noise limit which was tolerable even at the edge of the airfield when night flying was permitted from Heathrow. A half reduction in noise brings this down to 96 PNdB, which is still appalling. While 106 PNdB may not be ear shattering, the half reduction makes the level merely shattering. It is still an appalling noise. A level of about 60 PNdB is acceptable to the human ear, and in excess of 90 PNdB is awful, and that is what people are leading us to believe will be acceptable if the noise level of existing engines is halved.

7.30 p.m.

Mr. Roger Moate (Faversham)

My hon. Friend is describing virtually the constituency which will lie in the flight paths of the proposed Maplin airport. Aircraft leaving Maplin touch the Kent coast at the Isle of Sheppey with an estimated noise level of 97 PNdB, which is higher than the figure that my hon. Friend described as intolerable. At that stage the aircraft will be 3,000 ft to 4,000 ft off the ground. What he is suggesting is the transference of the Luton noise to Kent. Is that what he wants?

Mr. Allason

What I am suggesting is that this is not necessary. It is possible for the vast majority of aircraft flights to take off over the sea. I do not accept that it is necessary to cross the Kent coast at 3,000 ft. At Luton, however, aircraft are not allowed to climb because of the air traffic from Heathrow. They have to keep below a certain ceiling and have to fly low for a long distance.

Mr. Wilkinson

Will my hon. Friend agree that the best remedy for the Luton problem would be a hush kit for the Spey engine of the BAC 1–11 and of the Tridents for which the Government have not yet approved funding? The short and medium range aircraft constitute about 70 per cent. of movements from United Kingdom airports, particularly in the London area, and the approach that I suggest would benefit Luton and other airports.

Mr. Allason

I fully support the idea of hush-kitting the Spey. Hawker Siddeley has done something about noise reduction for the Trident with the Spey engine but BAC has failed to make any noise reduction in the 1–11, which produces a horrible beat. I am informed that the reduction in noise resulting from the hush kit is only 5 decibels, which would be only a quarter reduction in noise level for a considerable expense.

That solution would still leave us with intolerable noise levels. We therefore have to decide two things—what happens by day and what happens by night. It is unacceptable to have night flights over land but it is acceptable to have them over the sea. We must therefore have a sea site airport for all night flying so that there is no night flying at inland airports at all. For day flights we want to see quieter aircraft but I warn the House that these promised exciting reductions by one half in the noise level of aircraft still mean that the noise will be unacceptable and should therefore also be over the sea. That is what Maplin offers which is not offered by the other London airports.

Mr. Crouch

My hon. Friend keeps referring to noise over the sea but the information given to me by the Department of the Environment is, unfortunately, that with the runway so planned at Maplin 80 per cent. of the take-offs and landings will be in the direction of Kent.

Mr. Allason

That may be so but the aircraft will have quite a few miles in which to climb. At Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Stansted are wretched people living right under the take-off paths, and they are entitled to some consideration. One of my hon. Friends brushed aside the number of people living at Luton. He said that there were 2½ million people living around Heathrow but only 125,000 people were affected by noise at Luton. He seems to suggest that they could be put to one side, that they need not be considered. It is most necessary to consider transferring aircraft to the sea site but it is no longer tolerable to have flying to the extent which now persists over land from the present London airports. We must not therefore be diverted by illusory beliefs in quiet engines.

Mr. S. James A. Hill (Southampton, Test)

The arguments in the debate so far have been mainly on the aviation side, which I suppose is only right. It is on this subject that constituents harass and break down the morale of hon. Members. It is an emotive issue. I shall therefore deal briefly with the aviation aspect. I have said, and I have been consistent in this, that Heathrow and Gatwick were capable of expansion. I suppose, therefore, that the first question is to ask whether the Civil Aviation Authority, the British Airways Board and any of the other technical organisations that have a say in this matter feel that Heathrow and Gatwick are capable of expansion, certainly into the 1980s and even later.

I believe that those bodies have stated quite firmly that expansion is possible. If it can take place at Heathrow and Gatwick, we have to ask whether we are capable of improving our air traffic control services sufficiently to be able to clear the air as quickly as possible. Most of us, particularly hon. Members who go to the European Parliament, know of the delays which can occur as a result of something going wrong at the French or German air traffic control, or even the United Kingdom air traffic control, so that aircraft are kept circling or are bunched up on the ground. Therefore, if we are looking for increased traffic for those two major airports, this is an important consideration

Another aspect is whether there is any likelihood of quieter engines or VSTOL aircraft in the immediate future. Everyone today has agreed that there is some doubt about this. We are naturally prone to advise our constituents that there are possibilities in this direction, but everything is still at the drawing board stage and very little is in the air. We are subject at times perhaps to the cowardly impulse of giving the wrong impression to our constituents and perhaps hastening for them the day when they can expect quieter engines, but I am afraid it may be at least a decade before this will produce results and I believe that people connected with these technical matters agree with me.

Mr. Oakes

Will the hon. Member take into account that everyone in the debate who has referred to reduced engine noise has been talking about existing aeroplanes which are now in service—everyone, that is, except the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch), who made an excellent contribution and referred also to an engine? We are talking not about drawing boards but about aeroplanes which are flying now.

Mr. Hill

I am talking about the aircraft of the future and I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Hastings (Mr. Warren), who says that hush kits which will naturally reduce power are not so successful. The only hope of creating an environment within the noise footprint of the airport in which people can live lies with the engines and the aircraft of the future.

If the answer to the three queries is "Yes", Maplin is not needed. Nor is it needed if we can make do with what we have, if we can clear traffic as quickly as possible—I am thinking of the supersonic aircraft as well—and if there is a likelihood of quieter engines. However, if the answer to any of them is "No", Maplin is a necessity.

The project has created a great deal of discussion today. I emphasise the proviso in new Clause 2. There must be a great deal of consultation and at times pauses for reflection. The technological age may make an airfield such as Maplin superfluous within a short time or restrict it to an acceptable size.

I turn to the aspect of the matter which affects my constituency, where there is particular concern about the new deep-water port envisaged at Maplin. We do not wish to restrict or contain in any way the plans of the British Transport Docks Board or the Maplin Authority as against other ports, but in Southampton there is an extremely peculiar position in that we have already done what is proposed for Maplin. In Southampton there are 600 acres of reclaimed seashore. A bridge is being built to facilitate the use of this land. We have one of the best deep-water ports in the United Kingdom and a double tide, and we have made great strides in containerisation.

To build a deep-water port on what I would term the wrong side of the United Kingdom, with all the navigational hazards which would be experienced by tankers of 500,000 or 1 million tons in very narrow straits, would not be the right way to approach the matter at a time when Rotterdam, Hamburg and several other big European ports will be expanding. Traffic in the Channel would be of such a volume that it would be far better to develop a West Coast port and possibly a South Coast port such as Southampton. I would support that, as did the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. R. C. Mitchell).

The Chairman of the British Transport Docks Board asked in London this week, "Why not build a port in Southampton, where the berths are cheaper?" We should use the facilities which exist. They are an asset which can be utilised. The 600 acres of land to which I have referred can be developed.

I fear that there will be a limited budget, which will have to be spread thinly. It may have to be spread far too thinly for those ports which are ready to go ahead now rather than in five years' time.

If Ministers can reassure me that the established ports, such as Southampton, will not be neglected, that land which is available will be redeveloped, that no undue pressures will be applied to them to sell off their land and that there will be consultation with the British Transport Docks Board so that development in Southampton will be allowed to go ahead at the phased pace, I can support them. However, if my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary is adamant and cannot see that there can be further progression in ports like Southampton, I will be reluctantly forced to go into the opposing Lobby.

7.45 p.m.

Sir Stephen McAdden

I can conceive that my hon. Friend the Member for Essex, South-East (Sir Bernard Braine) and I could be wrong although it is unlikely. We have consistently opposed the idea of development at Maplin. We made our recommendations to the Roskill Commission, and those wise men accepted our views. We have consistently opposed development at Maplin ever since. So even if we are proved wrong we have at least been consistent.

The Government, on the other hand, will not even admit the possibility of being wrong. That is unfortunate. What is worse, however, is that they will not give us an opportunity to find out whether they are right. To try to discover this we ought at least to know more detail than we do about the projected development of Maplin. We should know something of the cost of the access roads, and their routing, as well as the cost of construction of an airport, if there is to be an airport. We must have this information before the House gives a decision.

The House must not be asked to give a decision in blind faith on the basis that everything will be all right. Some hon. Members have said that they are worried about the seaport. What seaport? No one knows anything about it [AN HON. MEMBER: "It is on the back of the Bill."] The matter is mentioned in the preamble, which states that the Bill provides for the reclamation from the sea of land … for the purpose of the establishment of the Third London Airport and a seaport.

Sir Bernard Braine

It may not now materialise.

Sir S. McAdden

We are led to believe that the Government are all set to go. That is not strictly true. All that is proposed is to reclaim land. If someone else wishes to provide an airport and a seaport, the Government will be prepared to talk about it and consider it. This sort of approach is not the way to treat the House of Commons. We should have much more detail. We should not be asked to commit ourselves to the possible expenditure of millions of pounds.

If the British Airports Authority decided to build an airport at Maplin, it would have no money for the project. It would have to come to Parliament for the money. The authority may present the idea for a magnificent airport, but Parliament has to provide the cash. The same applies to the provision of a port.

We have been kidded all along the line over the proposal to develop Maplin. Opinion in favour of the development of Maplin was originally engendered by a strange notion that some rich City gentlemen would build it all for nothing. There was a great wave of public opinion that that would be a wonderful idea. The idea has since been dissipated. People now know that it is not true.

But we are still being kidded. Supporters of the project—at least, those supporters who suffer under the flight paths of Heathrow and Gatwick—are being kidded that the building of an airport at Maplin will solve all their troubles. It will not. It will not even begin to solve their problems until 1981, which is a long way ahead. Even then, my hon. Friend the Minister will readily admit, the relevance of Maplin will be very small. It is likely to be 1985 at the earliest, if the airport is ever built, before there will be any substantial operational flying from Maplin. People who believe that development of an airport at Maplin will reduce the burden of flight paths around other airports are being kidded.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Allason) has said that he envisages that when Maplin is built there will be no flying from any inland site at night. He must be living in a dream world. He does not mind if there is noise during the day as long as there is no noise at night. I thought that the general complaint was that life was unbearable day and night. It appears that my hon. Friend has shifted his ground. I do not object to that. Many people have shifted their ground since the argument started.

The idea that Heathrow and Gatwick will close down when Maplin is fully operational is ludicrous. Of course, they will still operate. They will continue to present a noise nuisance unless and until the basic problem of tackling aircraft noise is dealt with. That is why I am so glad to hear many of my hon. Friends refer to tackling the problem of aircraft engine noise at source. We must not rely upon diverting all the traffic to Maplin. That will not solve the problem.

I am conscious of the fact that the debate has gone on too long. We have had a Second Reading debate. I do not wish to make a Second Reading speech. I have made one Second Reading speech and I do not want to repeat it. I remind the Government that many hon. Members are genuinely worried about the vast expenditure of public money which is envisaged in the Maplin development. It is felt—there is a growing tide of public opinion which is supported by responsible and authoritative documentation—by many hon. Members that this is not the right approach.

All we are asking for in the new clauses and the amendments—I hope I may be forgiven for referring to them—which we are supposed to have been discussing during the last three hours is that the Government should think again or give themselves time to draw back. That seems to be a reasonable proposition. We are not trying to smash Maplin. We are trying to pause a little and to think a little. I ask the Government not to try to rush the Bill through and not to kid the House any further than it has already been kidded.

Mr. Mather

Hon. Members with Maplin interests have become rather frightened about stories of noise which is heard around London Airport, Luton and Gatwick. I do not blame them. It is only right that these stories should be told if they are true. It is not as if the whole problem of noise is to be transferred lock, stock and barrel from these airports in the centre of the country to Maplin. Only a small proportion of the noise will be transferred. I do not believe that the noise clement is a strong one when considering Maplin.

I represent a constituency which is near London Airport. It suffers much from the noise problem. It is basically a residential area. It has one main industry—namely, the aircraft industry which is located at Weybridge. Therefore, my constituency does not take an entirely unbalanced view about the problem. Last summer my constituents suffered a pasting from aircraft noise. There is a main minimum noise route which cuts right through the centre of my constituency. Last summer the people who live under that route bore a heavy burden. It is my duty—and I am sure that other hon. Members whose constituencies are near London Airport feel the same—to ensure that we do whatever we can to relieve that burden.

As a result of the representations which were made last summer—my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Dr. Glyn) and other of my hon. Friends in the neighbourhood made strong representations—the policy of minimum noise routes is now being reconsidered in a major inquiry. Of course, some things can be done by altering the routes but I fear that not much can be done. To transfer the problem from one set of people to the next is not a solution.

We have heard a lot of talk about quiet engines. I hope that the BAC will build an aeroplane with quiet engines. I strongly support the Europlane project. Quiet engines will make a big difference. Of course, it is not conclusive that such engines will entirely solve the problem. I recently received from my hon. Friend the Minister for Aerospace and Shipping a letter which contained some important information about reducing the noice of aircraft. He said: But I am afraid it is a myth that huge modern aeroplanes can travel through the air and make little noise. The latest information available to my Department indicates that the noise from one of the widebodied types of aircraft, with all its engines switched off, would still be very great, because of the noise generated by the passage of the air frame and fuselage through the air.

Mr. Wilkinson

Surely my hon. Friend must be referring to the bang when the aircraft hits the ground if all its engines are switched off.

Mr. Mather

Perhaps if my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Wilkinson) waits to hear what the Minister has to say he will be slightly more enlightened.

The noise element, although an important reason, is not the only reason for going ahead with the Maplin project. It is a fact that it will be impossible to expand at Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton to the degree which we are told will be necessary by 1985. We are told that the number of extra passengers will generate approximately 60,000 new jobs for workers in the neighbourhood of London Airport alone. How will those people be accommodated in that area? If we accept that the aircraft industry is important to the country and that it must be expanded we must accept that we shall not be able to expand it at the existing airports even with the quieter engines for which we all hope.

Certain expectations have been raised amongst the people who live around London Airport. By accepting the new Clauses those expectations will be dashed. The hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. Oakes) must accept that if the new clauses are accepted dire social trouble and consequences will follow in such neighbourhoods. It is inconceivable that we can consider expanding the existing inland airports and not going ahead with a major airport on a coastal site.

Dr. Glyn

It is only right to tell the House that I have a considerable constituency interest in the noise problem. Maidenhead, Windsor and the country districts within my constituency are subjected, and have been subjected for a long time, to an almost unbearable level of noise. Tuition in many schools has to stop during the frequent passage of aircraft. I need not enlarge on the considerable difficulties. I pay tribute to the help which has been given to Maidenhead. Difficulty still arises at Windsor because of low flying on approach landings.

The effect of the new clauses and the amendments would be to delay the construction or the implementation of the Maplin plan. The Government must have already taken into consideration all the factors which are set out in the new clause before coming to the decision to proceed with the project.

Hon. Members have stressed that there are already 2 million people under the flight paths who are living an almost unbearable life not only by day but in some cases by night. A great deal has been said about quieter aircraft. We want quieter aircraft but I do not believe that in the foreseeable future the hush kits, or whatever we like to call them, will be able to decrease sufficiently the noise level, because aircraft have to fly over the town and the castle of Windsor at a low level in order to land. With whatever type of hush kit aircraft were equipped, there would still be very considerable noise and great inconvenience to those who live directly under the flight path unless a curved or turn-segment landing was adopted.

8.0 p.m.

The alterations in routes which have been given have been a help. But I still think that Maplin is the right site. It will be using land which is at present not in use and land will be reclaimed. We are saving agricultural land. From what I have seen of it, it would be a better site to have than any inland site because on balance far fewer people would be affected by noise. I cannot believe that 2 million people would be affected by Maplin. Probably thousands rather than millions would be affected. I welcome the idea of a seaport, which, given that there are fast links to London, could provide a very great complex air/sea port which could, in the long term, be of great value to this country.

Meanwhile, my hon. Friend the Minister and the public must realise that Maplin, as my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Sir S. McAdden) said, is not the immediate solution for those living under present flight paths. It is a long-term solution which will help in the end. If we divert noisy aircraft to Maplin in the future, this is something to which the people being subjected to this unbearable noise have to look forward, and the sooner we get on with this project the better.

I am glad that the Government have been steadfast and firm. Once having embarked upon it they have never turned aside.

I thank my lion. Friends on the Front Bench for the co-operation they have given to back-benchers in their pursuit to help their constituents in the diminution of noise. I ask them to continue to maintain this help so that we are able to give our constituents increased relief from what is an unbearable level of noise.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

I should like to ask three artless and concise questions, in ascending order of importance.

First, what has been done on the projection of future traffic on the domestic Scottish routes? This may be of marginal numerical importance, but it is of some importance. When a train, as it will do by the time Maplin comes into operation, and as it does, takes three, three and a half or four hours to travel between Edinburgh and London and between Glasgow and London, there are many of us who would prefer a train journey to air travel. Therefore, what consideration, looking at the figures, has been given to the nature of the change in rail travel between Scotland and London and to the effect that it will have on the requirement of domestic routes?

My second question is this. I understand that the Government are determined, probably rightly if the project goes ahead, that much of the shale and coal bing material will not be taken across East Anglia by lorry but will be brought in by ship. I also understand from Mr. David Broadbent, the director of special projects in coal, that for this to be undertaken it will probably be necessary to design a new type of ship, the kind of ship that would load on material at Blyth, Grangemouth or Immingham and go to Maplin, open its bottom and dump the material where needed. I think that I am right in that so far. What are the costs of these ships? If one has to design a new type of ship, it is certainly a costly business. Would I be wrong in saying that each of the ships, of which two or three may be necessary, would cost between £15 million and £20 million?

Lastly, I ask another kind of question because this is the month when in the United States there has been introduced for the first time flight rationing, the rationing of flights because of the shortage of aero-engine fuel. If it is true that the Americans had to get out of Vietnam because of the shortage of fuel for B52s—this is asserted time and again now and not denied—in a project that goes into the next decade, what serious study has been done on the shortage of aero-engine oil? It will be no news to Ministers that last night on the BBC there was a very powerful programme which showed that the shortage of aero-engine fuel would reach crisis proportions by the mid-1980s. Those of us who have been briefed by Dr. Pearce, the Chairman of Esso, by several people at the top of Shell and by the management of BP can be under no illusion that neither the motor industry nor the aviation industry has prepared itself for a shortage of engine fuel that will take place in the 1980s, if not before.

Therefore, that American experience makes the question at least relevant. Can we be certain that the assumption that there will be a rapid expansion in air travel is the kind of assumption that we should be making? I have put it as shortly and as concisely as I can. What sort of study have the Government undertaken of the likely effect of a shortage of aero-engine fuel at the time when Maplin comes into operation? If we are told that no serious study has been done, I for one would be very disturbed at the planning mechanisms of the British Government.

Mr. Moate

My hon. Friend the Member for Esher (Mr. Mather) said that if the Maplin project were not proceeded with or were deferred, the expectations of the people living around Heathrow would be shattered. If that is so, I suggest that they have been labouring under an illusion for so long that it is time that it was shattered.

Although my hon. Friend was not as extreme as some in suggesting that the construction of Maplin would bring great relief to those around Heathrow, nevertheless it is clear from what we have heard recently that it will not do so. Indeed, it is clear that there is still unused capacity at Heathrow, even allowing for present restrictions on flying, and that capacity will be used up. So what we and the people around Heathrow must expect is an increase on the present number of aircraft movements even when Maplin is built.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Allason) might have hope for more constraint at Luton. That is possible. But for those around Heathrow there can be no such hope. Their only hope does not lie in the early construction of Maplin. It lies in quieter engines. I do not know whether we shall have quieter engines. Day in and day out over the last few weeks we have been reading newspaper articles and have received articles in the post from eminent people saying that we probably will get quieter engines. I hope that we shall. There is ample evidence to suggest that it may be so. The Government do not appear to be taking much heed of this. Obviously they hope that it is true, but they are not prepared to consider the Maplin proposals in the light of this.

I should have thought that even if the Government were not prepared to accept the evidence—there have been enough studies and there is enough experience—enough doubts have been sown to prove that there is no need to rush into the Maplin project, and surely the Government have reason to defer the project for several years.

My first and immediate interest is a constituency interest. My constituency would lie on the opposite side of the estuary to the Maplin airport, directly in line with the runways some 10 miles away. That is roughly the same distance as central London is from Heathrow.

Hon. Members may well be aware that when out in the sunshine in Westminster sometimes they will find that aircraft if using a particular runway can be a serious noise nuisance indeed.

My constituency is faced with a noise problem. Although it has been called an environmental airport we should not run away with the idea that no one will suffer. I maintain that the noise shadow over Essex and Kent will be very much more serious than the Government have been making out. My hon. Friend the Minister for Aerospace was quoted in a newspaper article this morning as saying: At Maplin only 465 homes will actually be disturbed by the noise at the estimated worst noise situation in 1990. What he was referring to was the fore-cast—

Mr. Brian Harrison (Maldon)

Did the Minister make any reference to the number of houses which will be demolished to build the corridor and so on?

Mr. Moate

I was coming to that. My hon. Friend was referring to the 35 NNI line and the forecast of those who would be seriously disturbed by the site C selection. There is a vast difference between those who are seriously disturbed, within the 35 NNI line, and vast numbers of people who would also be disturbed. My hon. Friend the Member for Essex, South-East (Sir Bernard Braine) said that there could be between 65,000 and 125,000 people who would suffer from aircraft noise. It does not need any elaboration to make the point that in the quieter surroundings of a rural area aircraft noise is that much more intrusive. It is logical to take a 25 NNI line in the country and compare it with the noise nuisance of a 35 NNI line in central London.

I urge the House to recognise that there will be serious noise damage to the people living in Essex and Kent. To those hon. Members whose constituents live around Heathrow I say that they must recognise that they will not get the relief they expect and will inflict noise on others. Let us be rid of this illusion. I urge hon. Members to recognise the damage which this will inflict on our county.

The other overwhelming factor which I would have thought would have persuaded the Government to say this for a year or two is the public expenditure factor. We have just had public expenditure cuts affecting such things as road maintenance which many people would think is a fairly short-term false economy. I asked what the Maplin expenditure was likely to be over the next year. The Treasury did not give an answer, as might be expected. The Department of the Environment says that the reclamations are likely to cost between about £15 million and £20 million a year, plus defence expenditure. That means that next year we could save £20 million immediately on public spending if we deferred Maplin and reinstated some other, more worthwhile items of expenditure.

If this Bill goes through unamended, even though there may in theory be some safeguard clauses, this House will be setting on a course that it will not be able to stop. It will be approving one of the largest items of public expenditure that it has ever approved. In theory it is just £250 million for this Bill. Then the airport will follow, then the seaport, then the new town or city, then the motorways and rail links. We are talking about £1,000 million to £2,000 million in total commitment to the region, some of which might be spent elsewhere. In regional terms, thousands of millions of pounds will be directed into south-east Essex which I should have thought made nonsense of nearly all the regional policies we have been talking about.

If we pass the Bill unamended this House will effectively lose control of this vast project. We have had only a fraction of the information that we ought to have had. We have had no debate about the seaport. If the seaport had been a project on its own, such as the Channel Tunnel, we would have had a Green Paper and public inquiries and we would have decided on the merits for or against the project. That has not happened. I accept that my hon. and right hon. Friends believe in the principle of public participation to the full but, frankly, it has not occurred over the question of the seaport. I do not believe it has occurred properly with the airport either.

We have had the Roskill inquiry, the results of which were rejected. I urge my hon. and right hon. Friends to cancel or postpone the project. The public expenditure considerations are so overwhelming and the environmental considerations so damning. The technical advances are there as a possibility. The Government ought to defer this project for at least two or three years so that the country and the House can have a second look at whether we need an airport and, if so, decide where it should be sited.

8.15 p.m.

Mr. Ronald Bell

Three new clauses are being considered together and they are all about consultation. I do not believe that people are particularly interested in consultation. The idea that, if these new clauses are not added to the Bill, the Government will not continue to consult the British Airports Authority or the Civil Aviation Authority or whatever other appropriate authority exists, is fanciful. Consultation is automatic. If at some point someone were to say to the Government "This has ceased to be necessary", obviously the project would not proceed. [Laughter.] I should perhaps have said someone whose opinion carried weight.

The real purpose of the new clauses is to prevent the project going ahead at all. When people say that we should wait for five years, they know perfectly well that we have been looking round for a third London airport for some time.

Mr. Adley

The difference between new Clause 1 and new Clause 2 is that the former seeks to stop anything happening before reclamation while new Clause 2 allows reclamation to start and then sets up the monitoring process. There is a difference.

Mr. Bell

It is a fascinating difference. The purpose of these new clauses is to stop the project. Whether or not consultation is asked for is not all that important. It is said "Wait for five years", but just look how many years we have been searching for a third London airport. The need for it has never been doubted until now.

The reason why those opposing it have shifted their weight and are no longer saying that it must not go to Stansted or Cublington but instead are saying that we do not need one at all is because even they realise that they cannot go on moving from one place to another saying "It cannot be there because of this, it cannot be here because of that." Having reached Maplin and this state of the game, they are now saying the only thing that they can plausibly say—that we do not need a third London airport at all.

I ask myself why hon. Members representing constituencies only vaguely in the neighbourhood of this project should be putting up so vigorous an opposition if in the next 15 years aircraft will become so silent that no one should be bothered about them. I represent a constituency the southern part of which lies under the path to and from runways at Heathrow. Many of my hon. Friends and some Opposition Members represent constituencies directly affected. When we are told that we should accept a 30 per cent. increase in traffic movements at Heathrow and should not be concerned because technical developments will make the noise quite bearable for our constituents, and when we are told this by hon. Members whose constituencies are fairly well removed from Maplin but who are putting up such a feverish opposition, it is not surprising that we are a little sceptical.

I am told that movements at Heathrow have increased by no less than 10 per cent. in the last few months. That is a very much higher rate of increase than that upon which the CAA report, so heavily relied upon today, was based. Heathrow is already so crowded that as an airport it has become virtually a slum. The traffic movements from it are so intensive that a couple of million people—the number is more than that really because the NNI line is not the perimeter of serious disturbance—are living in neighbourhoods which have not become slums but which are on the way to becoming slums.

My hon. Friend the Member for Esher (Mr. Mather), who is a constituent of mine, could tell the House, if he has not already done so, that four-engined jets fly over his house every two minutes at about 400 ft. People say "Why not knock it down from every two minutes to every 90 seconds? You know that as the years pass there will be a slight diminution in the noise by so many perceived noise decibels. What are you worrying about?" This matter does not affect me personally, but I represent people who are affected by the noise and I speak for them.

We are talking about people. Let us be honest and admit, as I know from experience, that since the advent of the pure jet the conditions in which many people live around London Airport have become absolutely intolerable. When we hear one of the old aircraft—for example, a Viscount or a Britannia—the noise is like that of an electric fan compared with the noise from a pure jet. It is no answer to say that people went to live there knowing there was an airport there. When most of them went to live there, the noise from aeroplanes was not comparable with the present-day noise. In any case, the housing situation does not give people a great deal of choice

The airlines have drummed up all the opposition they can against this project. They do not want the airport to go to Maplin, and that is what the fuss is about. They wanted it to go to Stansted. They were pushed off that. Then they preferred Cublington, and they were pushed off that—quite rightly in both cases.

From the point of view of people, Maplin is right. The airlines, looking at the matter commercially, do not want to go there and they have marshalled support for their case. They have put out optimistic stories about declining noise levels, just as a company faced with a takeover bid puts out rosy estimates of its future profits.

The Department of the Environment and the Department of Trade and Industry support the Bill because they know that we cannot hope for the next 15 years, for any change in the magnitude of the noise which is of any human significance to people who have to put up with the frequency of aircraft movements from which people around Heathrow are suffering. There is no getting away from that point.

I ask those who have been rather taken in by the airlines—some of my hon. Friends who represent constituencies in Essex have been most sensible and moderate about this; it is the airlines which are fighting this battle—[HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] There are other interests, but I shall not go into that matter.

Mr. Adley

Taxpayers' interests.

Mr. Bell

I am content merely to refer to the airlines, which no doubt are fighting a cause which they consider to be legitimate. The other side of the argument concerns millions of people. If we care for our environment, we must do something about building another London airport.

Let me put it in practical terms. The passenger traffic will increase, and do not let us pretend that it will not. Putting passengers in jumbo jets will not make all that much difference to the number of passenger movements. But freight traffic will increase enormously, and it is sheer pretence to say that it will not. It does not matter to a person in a house whether the aeroplane flying overhead is carrying freight or people.

A third London airport is an operational necessity. The particular advantage of it is that when the first runway comes into service a good deal of the night traffic can use it as once and in large measure the older and noisy types of aircraft, such as the Tridents and VC10s, can be and will be required to go to Maplin—and so they should. Nobody should be asked to live under the flight path of a continual flow of Boeing 707s. One has to live under the flight path to know what it means.

Anyone who thinks that we do not need a new seaport as well at Maplin surely has gone to sleep. London is not dead as a port, but we all know that with the increase in the size of ships we shall not maintain the importance of the Port of London, with ships coming all the way up the river from the estuary. Let us be sensible. We must have a deep water port at the estuary if we are to recover the maritime position which we have most damagingly lost to the countries on the west coast of Europe. If we must have a new seaport, as we must, just as in the west we had to have Milford Haven, it makes sense to have it near the third London airport, which we also need—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] For pretty obvious reasons. The land is to be reclaimed and sea gravel dredged up to make concrete. It has everything.

It is sheer obscurantism to stand against this obvious proposition. It is obscurantism of recent date. I do not have to go back many months to recall when the Opposition were in favour of the third London airport. The hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) knows how true that is; indeed, he mentioned it in his speech. I did not hear the same voices raised on my side of the House in criticism of Maplin until a short time ago.

I hope we shall not again put off for years the search for a third London airport. That would be a body blow to the aeronautical and maritime interests of this country.

Sir George Sinclair (Dorking)

I wish to speak shortly in defence of the interests of a constituency that suffers from aircraft noise both from Heathrow and Gatwick. The effect of passing any of the clauses we are debating will be to delay the start of work on London's third airport. The Government's announcement of their choice of Maplin as the third London airport and the accompanying promises to limit between now and the period when Maplin comes into operation the nuisance of aircraft noise round Heathrow and Gatwick have brought relief to countless families in my area and far beyond in the West Sussex area.

For many years people have been concerned that the intensity of air traffic becomes greater each year whether because of larger planes or greater frequency. For many years ahead aircraft noise will increase because many of the planes now in operation will be in operation for many years to come even though quieter ones come along in parallel. The Government's announcement was the vision of relief from continuing worsening conditions.

All the people who are affected by aircraft noise in both the east and the west of my constituency would be horrified to hear that the Government were contemplating any delay in starting on the building of Maplin. I believe the airport is an operational necessity, and it is an urgent necessity that the noise burden be lifted from the people who live in heavily populated areas. I hope that the Government will be firm and will carry the day.

8.30 p.m.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

I am sure that the House will agree that this has been a somewhat unusual and wide debate on new clauses on Report, and I have therefore abandoned the speech which I intended to make.

I begin by thanking all the members of the Select Committee under the Chairmanship of my hon. Friend the Member for Hove (Mr. Maddan) who dealt with the detailed private objections to the Bill, listened carefully to all the petitioners, considered their arguments and made a substantial number of amendments which have improved the Bill and are acceptable to the Government. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend and his colleagues from both sides of the House for the care with which they dealt with the private hearings and looked after the difficulties of individual private people.

We had a most agreeable Standing Committee. Although there was a strong divergence of opinion between the two sides, the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. Oakes) handled admirably his side of the debate. I pay tribute to him, to his colleagues and to my hon. Friends for their work in Committee.

We are technically dealing with three new clauses. So that there shall be no doubt in anyone's mind, I say at the outset that the Government accept the spirit but not the precise language of new Clause 1. We accept the spirit of a large part, though not the whole, of new Clause 2. I can meet the anxieties straight away of my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol North-East (Mr. Adley), who tabled new Clause 3, by assuring him that there is no question of any development of a port at Maplin without, first, the most careful examination of the economic case for it by the National Ports Council and, secondly, a thorough examination by both the council and my Department of the implications of any such development for all other British ports, including Southampton, which was mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. S. James A. Hill). This is not simply a matter of an assurance given from the Dispatch Box; it is the law. The Secretary of State is required by the 1964 Act to consult the National Ports Council before committing public funds for these purposes, and this he will do.

I undertake that this consultation in respect of the port will take place with the National Ports Council and with other ports as need be, and that a statement will be made to the House so that hon. Members on both sides may put questions to my right hon. and learned Friend before any authority is given to the Maplin Development Authority or to anybody else to start reclamation for the purpose of providing a new port. I believe that meets the point raised in new Clause 3.

The debate has ranged widely, but it has centred primarily on three main questions. The first is whether we need the new airport; secondly, what is the cost and is it justified; and thirdly, how can we in Government, in Parliament or those in statutory undertakings keep track of the technical and scientific changes which are happening all the time and which are leading to new judgments having to be made about aircraft noise and all the other features involved. I know that hon. Members on both sides of the House have been concerned about monitoring the changes that take place so that we may make sure that decisions are taken and resources deployed against a background of the best available information at any one time.

I shall seek to deal with these three points, but at the outset I wish to deal with one misunderstanding. This Bill is a limited Bill. It is a machinery Bill more than a policy Bill. It is a Bill which sets up an organisation which will be able to reclaim land. That land is intended for two purposes—for an airport and for a seaport. In so far as the reclamation may produce some surplus land, that will have its related purposes. But what the Bill does not do is to authorise an airport to be built at Maplin. [Laughter.] I can only repeat that the Bill does not authorise an airport to be built at Maplin, nor does it authorise a port. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I hope that hon. Members will listen because these are the facts. What the Bill also does not do is to authorise any dredging to commence.

Mr. Brian Harrison

Can my hon. Friend say, then, what is the point of the Bill?

Mr. Griffiths

The Bill creates the machinery and the organisation capable of reclaiming land from the sea for these purposes. The House will appreciate that before an airport can be built my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry must allow the British Airports Authority to spend the money. Before he gives authorisation for that expenditure, he will have to be satisfied that that airport is in all the circumstances needed. Secondly, in respect of the seaport my right hon. and learned Friend will require to be satisfied before he can permit those funds to be spent. Even more important, the Secretary of State for the Environment will control the funds and may give directions to the Maplin Development Authority.

I give the assurance to the House that my right hon. and learned Friend will not give authority to the Maplin Development Authority to commence any reclamation unless he has carried out the spirit embodied in new Clauses 1 and 2; namely, to consult the statutory bodies in question and to look in particular at the questions raised in new Clause 2, embracing the retrofit, the new type of aircraft and all the rest of it. I repeat that he will do that, consulting the appropriate statutory bodies, and not authorise reclamation to take place until he has completed those consultations and made a statement to the House.

Mr. Rost

In order that we may have complete clarification, as I am still a little confused, will my hon. Friend confirm that that means that there will have to be further authorisation in this House before the expenditure actually commences?

Mr. Griffiths

My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State will carry out the purposes of new Clauses 1 and 2 by consulting in respect of the authorisation requirements set out there. When he has done so he will report to this House. He may well lay a parliamentary paper. The form of that can be considered. But no reclamation will commence until he has done that.

Hon. Members ask, reasonably, in that case why not accept the new clause? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Perhaps I may give the answer. Put shortly, it is that new Clause 1 lays the obligation to consult on the Maplin Development Authority. That authority is not a body which in any sense can carry out the wishes of the House in this matter. For one thing it is not accountable to the House. For another it is a dredging and land moving organisation. I suggest that it is the very last organisation on which this House would wish to confer the responsibility for determining, as it were, with the Civil Aviation Authority, the British Airports Authority and the National Ports Council whether the country should have a third London airport. That is a matter to be decided by the Government and Ministers responsible to the House.

These amendments are defective in that they lay the obligation to consult upon the wrong body. In the case of new Clause 1 it would be light that the obligation to consult should be laid upon my right hon. and learned Friend. I further undertake in his presence that he will, having done that, consult this House before any reclamation for either the airport or the seaport is enabled to commence.

Mr. Crouch

Will my hon. Friend make it clear what he means when he says that the Secretary of State will consult the House about expenditure which may be £1,000 million? Is it intended one afternoon at half-past three to say that we are to spend £1,000 million, and then to go on to other business?

Mr. Griffiths

Perhaps my hon. Friend will allow me to come to the expenditure in a moment, when I shall answer his question.

My eight hon. and learned Friend, having carried out the consultations in question—

Hon. Members


Mr. Griffiths

—that must be a matter for him to determine—it will be the intention of the Government, having listened to the debate in which some powerful arguments have been made, to draft a suitable amendment carrying out the purposes which I have just set out to meet the purposes of new Clause 1 and of most of new Clause 2. Such an amendment can be moved in another place.

I have said already that the existing law covers the point in new Clause 3—

Sir Bernard Braine

My hon. Friend has made no reference to my arguments in connection with new Clause 3. Is he aware that nothing that he has said so far encourages me to believe that at any time safeguards will be written into the law to protect the environment of my constituents which is already savagely under assault by my right hon. and learned Friend at the other end of my constituency? Will my hon. Friend comment on the need to write into the law proper safeguards for my constituents?

8.45 p.m.

Mr. Griffiths

My hon. Friend knows that the whole problem of writing environmental standards into legislation, whether on noise, pollution or anything else, is complex. Knowing his feelings about recent developments and decisions in Essex, I can assure him that the Government will most certainly have regard in the organisation of any future airport or seaport in Essex to the minimising of environmental pollution in that area.

Sir Bernard Braine


Mr. Griffiths

I will try to deal with my hon. Friend's point later.

Sir Bernard Braine

It is not merely pollution, but safety.

Mr. Griffiths

One of the most impressive speeches to my mind was that by my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch), who was particularly concerned that, where technological change is taking place, we should be aware of it and monitor it before making decisions. I hope he will appreciate that we have to make a decision somewhere. We have to go hard at some particular point in any programme. Inevitably after that point further discoveries and scientific developments will take place. All sensible organisations seek to monitor those changes as they take place. It is our intention to do that.

The kinds of change about which my right hon and learned Friend the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Minister for Aerospace and Shipping will consult the statutory bodies are as follows: first, changes in the composition and character of air traffic; secondly, changes in the destinations of air passengers; thirdly, changes in the types and characteristics of aircraft—the new ones like Concorde or the wide-bodied jets, the RTOL, VTOL, and so on—fourthly, the development of engines where they are pressing ahead—the Government are pressing ahead—with the RB 211 and the demonstration programme for the Dowty Rotol—fifthly, retrofits and hush kits; and, lastly, the whole question of regional airports. Having done that, my right hon. and learned Friend will seek to report to the House. But none of this will allow us to be put off, the decisions require to be made. It is the duty of the Government not to fudge the issue. That is the inevitable responsibility that falls to my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Adley

Regarding regional airports, may I ask my hon. Friend how he accounts for the fact that we have the CAA at this moment working on the production of a national plan for airports whilst he insists on pressing ahead with a decision which knocks into a cocked hat any national plan because the major decision is now being taken in the South-East?

Mr. Griffiths

The Bill does not itself authorise an airport to be built. That decision remains to be taken by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

Mr. Churchill (Stretford)


Mr. Griffiths

It is only fair to seek to deal with—

Mr. Churchill

Will my hon. Friend give way?

Mr. R. C. Mitchell


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu)

Order. The Minister is obviously not giving way.

Mr. Griffiths

I turn now to the thee main questions: the need for the airport, the cost, and the question of monitoring change.

Several hon. Members have said that the CAA report invalidates previous forecasts and throws doubt on the necessity for a third London airport. Let us look at what it says. The CAA forecasts that by 1980 passenger demand arising at the London airports would be 58 million. Roskill said 57 million. Their estimates were almost the same.

Air transport movements by 1980 are put by the CAA at 488,000. Roskill put the figure at 482,000. Again, the CAA report endorses the Roskill recommendations and the Government's acceptance of them.

Looking further ahead to 1985, the CAA forecast for air passenger demand is precisely the same as Roskill—84 million. Air transport movements are marginally down from 555,000 to 534,000, but overall there is little deviation between the Roskill forecast and that of the CAA. Its report makes it clear that the CAA made full allowance for the growth in the size of aircraft, for the potential effects of the Channel Tunnel and for the possible diversion of traffic to the regions. So I really hope that no one will repeat the rather stale and inaccurate criticism that neither the Roskill Commission nor the Government have taken account of these changing factors. Of course we have.

There always have been and there always will be arguments about the weight which should be given to these factors, and about the extent to which they need to be taken into account in forecasts for the even more distant future, but let me put one point to the House, a point which was stressed in the CAA Report, by Roskill and by, I think, some seven independent committees and interdepartmental inquiries which have considered this matter since the late 1950s, and that is the uncertainties and the margins of error which must attend any forecast, particularly of air traffic, when we are looking many years ahead. An example of this is quoted in the CAA Report where it is said that if the annual average rate of increase were 1 per cent. higher than estimated, this marginal error would result in an increase of 10 million in passenger demand by 1985 in the London area. That is to say, there would be 94 million passengers to cope with rather than the forecast 84 million.

In this context of the CAA forecast of an annual traffic growth rate of 10 per cent. in the period 1972 to 1980, it is relevant that the Director-General of the International Air Transport Association estimates a worldwide annual average growth of 11 per cent. in the seventies. That is 1 per cent. above the CAA figure. I really see no reason to suppose that United Kingdom traffic will grow at less than the average rate.

I mention these figures simply to show the inevitable hazards in air traffic forecasting. Of course there are hazards. It is right to monitor as well as we can, and to consult on changing standards of technology, but decisions remain to be taken and I hope the House will accept that the fact that it is difficult to make accurate projections ahead is not of itself a reason for taking no decision at all, because if we were wrong by 1 per cent. in the other direction we could bring about a situation of congestion, pollution and noise which would be utterly intolerable. But in all these circumstances a judgment has to be made.

The Government have made their judgment in the light of all the circumstances on the basis of the best evidence we can acquire about changes in engines and aeroplanes, demand and the rest. We believe that one new runway will be required by 1980 and that a second new runway will be required by 1985. We take the view on all the evidence that something like three and a half times as many people will need to get into and out of aeroplanes in London in 1980–85 than today, and that they will be carried by something like twice as many larger aircraft. There is the problem and there is the Government's judgment, backed up by the best available expert advice—that one new runway is required by 1980 and a second by 1985.

Mr. Jay

The Minister spoke of the CAA revised forecast of passenger demand but said nothing about its revised forecast of the capacity of the existing aircraft. Does he deny that on the CAA forecast it would be perfectly possible in 1980 for Gatwick and Heathrow to provide for very nearly all the traffic and that with one extra runway at Gatwick it would be possible to provide for it—on the CAA figures—in 1985?

Mr. Griffiths

The right hon. Gentleman anticipates my next point. I have said what is the best judgment we can make. I would say to my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Sir S. McAdden), for whom I have great affection, that of course we can all be wrong. He admits that he can be wrong, and Governments too can be wrong. But we must nevertheless make the best judgment we can, taking into account all the evidence and all the factors.

The right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) does not dissent, I understand, from the proposition that one runway more is required by roughly 1980 and a second by 1985, and that about three and a half times as many people and many times more air freight will be carried in about twice or two and a half times as many somewhat larger aeroplanes. So the question is, where shall we put them? The right hon. Gentleman's solution and that of his hon. Friends appears to be that they shall all be put in the existing London airports.

Let us be absolutely clear what this means. It means, first, that we must keep open Stansted, Southend and Luton. The Government propose to close all three, although Luton may be closed only over a considerable period. Second, it would mean, on the estimation of Labour Members themselves, that Heathrow would be developed to its absolute maximum.

But this means not simply that the number of aircraft will increase to about 400,000 flights per year of larger aircraft. It means also that about three and a half times as many people will need to be got through and handled there at the ground terminal facilities. I must agree with the CAA that, whatever the argument about using the runways for a little longer or a little more intensively, it is not civilised to herd three and a half times as many people as we do today into Heathrow.

The other difference is that Labour Members, in order to meet their strategy, would need to develop Gatwick to the full. This, of course, would mean a second runway. We have decided that we will not have a second runway at Gatwick because the impact on the local population is already quite sufficient. Moreover, the projections require that, at Gatwick, there were no fewer than five times as many passengers and that the airport would need to be used to capacity during parts of the night as well as during the day.

So the first choice that we have in this matter is to retain Stansted, Luton and Southend and cram them to capacity, to double the number of aircraft and treble the number of people at Heathrow, and to keep open Gatwick longer hours with a second runway, with about five times more passengers going through it.

The other choice is to provide one runway at Maplin by 1980 and a second by 1985, so that all the flights from that airport can take place over the sea on landing and take-off, to close Stansted and Southend, to run down Luton and to reduce the noise at Heathrow and Gatwick. My right hon. and learned Friend tells me that on this strategy it will be possible, and the Government so intend, to start to move away from Heathrow some of the surplus as soon as Maplin enables us to do so.

I believe that this will produce a genuine reduction in the noise nuisance for about 700,000 people in that area, compared with a number in the area of Maplin, for whose sensitivities I have the greatest respect, running only into thousands.

9.0 p.m.

Mr. Wilkinson

My hon. Friend said that in 1985, to quote the CAA survey, some 84 million passengers will come from the London airports. Is he aware that with the full terminal facilities for Gatwick and Heathrow alone, and not including any potential development at Stansted, Luton, Castle Donington, Northolt or anywhere else, the potential figure is 1 million in excess of that survey figure—85 million? From the passenger handling point of view, therefore, is there not a margin and scope to provide the necessary facilities without having to buy an extra runway or two extra runways at £1,000 million extra cost?

Mr. Griffiths

I am advised that this would not be possible by 1985. In any case, I want now to turn to the question of the £1,000 million. I say at once that this price tag is quite misleading and inaccurate.

It is misleading because it assumes that the whole cost of Maplin is an extra cost to the nation which would somehow all be saved if Maplin were to be abandoned, but this is not true. The Government have never claimed that we could win all the environmental advantages of a coastal site without extra cost, but it may help the House if I set out the balance sheet so that we can be clear about the extent of the extra cost and the costs of alternatives which also need to be faced.

For the total cost of the project, including reclamation, construction of the seaport, airport terminals and extra routes, we estimate, though we are bound only to be able to estimate at this stage, an overall expenditure to 1990 of £825 million at 1972 prices. This admittedly large sum will be spread over 17 years, but it may be kept in perspective if I say that the total sum spread over those 17 years is just about 11 months of our current expenditure on roads or, to take another comparison, the equivalent of just under two years of my Department's capital expenditure on the water services. This is still a substantial sum, but it is important to keep it in perspective.

To break down that figure I turn first to reclamation. The estimate for this on the face of the bill is £175 million but I see no reason for any major escalation because the building of sea walls and the dredging of gravels is a perfectly conventional civil engineering job which British as well as Dutch engineers have been doing all over the world for a very long time. We are not on the frontiers of advanced technology in this respect.

But this £140 million for reclamation is only the expenditure side of the balance sheet. Let us look at the credits.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu: (Huddersfield, East)

Is the figure £175 million or £140 million?

Mr. Griffiths

I beg pardon. £175 million is the total figure, and in stage 1 to 1980 we estimate the amount to be £140 million.

From that figure, on the credit side of the ledger we should have gained the following. First, we should have gained 2,500 acres of flat and well-drained land for a modern oil terminal and seaport. We should have 8,200 acres for a two-runway airport and all ancillary services, and there would be a surplus of just over 3,400 acres available for commercial and recreational development. [Laughter.] Essex County Council has agreed with my Department that the amenity and recreational uses of this surplus land are important, and I doubt that any hon. Member would disagree with that. This land has a high value. I am advised that at present-day prices industrial and commercial land with planning permission in South-East Essex is valued within very high ranges.

The Maplin Development Authority's costs of reclaiming are estimated to be approximately £10,000 per acre, a figure which will reduce as the size of the reclamation increases. Thus, given the present values placed on land of that character in South-East Essex, which, I am advised by the district valuers, are between £20,000 and £40,000 per acre, it is just not true that the public—for it will be public sector land—will be losing on the reclamation. There is a gain as well as an expenditure, and it is only fair that one should balance both sides of the ledger.

If the 2,500 acres needed for the new port had to be found at Tilbury or some other South-East town, does any hon. Member imagine that that amount of land could be acquired at £10,000 per acre? What would it cost to acquire, even by compulsory purchase, 10,000 acres for a new airport and all its ancillary services at, for example, Stansted or Cublington? There are two sides to the equation.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell

We have already got the land.

Mr. Griffiths

The point I am making is that it is not all expenditure. When one spends money on reclaiming land, one gains a real asset, real estate, which is one of the most precious things in this country, and in such desperately short supply.

Mr. Dalyell

I asked earlier about the special ships which would be needed for dumping bing material. Is it right to assume that special ships will have to be built? If so, what would be their cost, and is that included in the calculation?

Mr. Griffiths

There will be dredgers. So far as I am aware, no special ships will need to be designed or built. But, once again, this is a matter for the Maplin Development Authority when my right hon and learned Friend gives it authority to commence the reclamation work.

I turn now to the seaport. Of the overall £825 million, £50 million is accounted for by the seaport. But, as the House knows, the seaport will be built only if the National Ports Council and my right hon. and learned Friend are satisfied that there is a proper commercial demand for it. If there is this commercial demand, as the Port of London Authority believes, the new port and new facilities will have to be provided somewhere in any case—if not at Maplin, then by expansion at Tilbury, or at Southampton or somewhere else. So let it not be suggested that the £50 million estimated for the new port is all expenditure, without return. There will be a new port which is needed and that is part of the return.

Mr. Churchill

My hon. Friend says that we must keep the figure of £825 million in perspective with other expenditure. He must be aware that that figure represents double the British Government's investment up to this point in the Concorde project.

Mr. Griffiths

My hon. Friend will draw his own conclusions and make his own comparisons. I have said that that figure over 17 years is somewhat less than the total which my Department will spend in just under 24 months on water and sewerage services.

I come now to the airport itself. Of the overall £825 million, about £480 million—obviously, the lion's share—is scheduled for the construction of the airport itself as and when my right hon. and learned Friend and the House are agreed that it should go forward. But of this very large figure only 10 per cent. would be spent on runways, taxiways and navigational aids—that is, on the sort of facilities which are inherent in the decision to have a brand new airport.

The rest of the £480 million—90 per cent. of the expenditure—will go on passenger terminals and other facilities of the kind which are directly tied to the numbers of people and aircraft that have to be handled. But those people and those aircraft would have to be handled and the appropriate facilities provided wherever we chose to locate the increase in traffic—whether at Cublington, Stansted, Manchester or Yorkshire, or, indeed, at Heathrow or Gatwick. I am advised that as far as the passenger terminals and the other handling facilities are concerned—representing some 90 per cent. of the cost of the construction of the airport—it would be cheaper to build these components of the airport on a clear and unencumbered site at Maplin rather than in the congested conditions of any of our existing airports where it cannot be so easily done and where aircraft are landing and taking off.

Perhaps I could now go on to deal with the new town. Hon. Members have complained—

Mr. Roy Jenkins

Was the conclusion of the Minister's last argument, which I have been trying to follow very closely, that to provide the additional terminal facilities within the perimeter of Heathrow or Gatwick would cost 90 per cent. of £480 million—in other words £450 million?

Mr. Griffiths

I cannot give the right hon. Gentleman the answer about the cost at Heathrow and Gatwick. I do not have it available. I can say only that I am advised that the cost of providing the necessary additional passenger and aircraft handling facilities arising from the growth of both would be less at Maplin than at any of the existing congested airports. However, I shall attempt to get the answer for the right hon. Gentleman.

A number of hon. Members have sought information about the roads and the new town, and I agree that this would be helpful. But the Bill does not deal with these matters. As soon as the Government can do so we will publish the consultation documents relating to decisions about the roads and the new towns.

Mr. Dick Leonard (Ramford)


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The Minister is not giving way.

Mr. Griffiths

I am advised that the cost of housing people in a new town in South Essex will be no different from the cost of housing them anywhere else. [HON. MEMBERS: "They already live there."] It is plain that to manage additional aircraft and passengers large numbers of additional airport staff will be required, and on the basis of present staffing ratios at Heathrow and Gatwick, and bearing in mind improvements in productivity, the estimate is that about 40,000 additional airport workers of all kinds would be required.

These people who will need to be housed and provided with schools and with all the other infrastructure would either need to be housed in the travel-to-work area of Heathrow or Gatwick, or they would need to be housed in and around the new town we are proposing for South Essex. The numbers, however, are no different. The requirements for homes and other social infrastructure are the same, and once again I am advised that it will not be more expensive, but less, to build these new communities in the greenfield sites of Essex rather than in that area around Heathrow and Gatwick where there is already pressure on housing and matters would simply be made more difficult.

I have tried to deal with some of the points raised in the debate. I return at last to the new clauses, which constitute the subject that the House is being asked to deal with.

9.15 p.m.

Mr. Neil Marten (Banbury)

Before my hon. Friend deals with that, may I be helpful? I do not want my hon. Friend, whom I greatly admire—[Laughter.]—I do; I play tennis with him—to commit himself before making his peroration on the new clause. We have all listened with great interest to what he said and to his undertakings to produce new clauses in another place. I am sure that he is aware of the feeling in the Chamber behind him. I am reminded of the night when the Government were defeated on the immigration rules, and of how pleased they were to bring them back properly amended. Therefore, may I suggest that before my hon. Friend winds up he accepts new Clause 2 on the undertaking that it is amended in another place? I think that we should feel much happier if he did. Will he consider that while the Opposition Front Bench spokesman is replying?

Mr. Griffiths

I must thank my hon. Friend for his usual desire to assist, but I should make quite clear what I have proposed. I suggest that between now and the consideration of the Bill in another place the Government will draft an amendment achieving the spirit of new Clause 1 but requiring that it be the Secretary of State, responsible to this House, who shall do the consulting, not the Maplin Development Authority, which does not have the capability or the background to carry out that task.

We shall certainly do our utmost to ensure that all the factors identified in new Clause 2—new aircraft types and so on—are matters on which my right hon. and learned Friend will undertake to consult and report to the House before authority is given for reclamation to begin. I shall be happy to follow the language of the clause.

Mr. Anthony Crosland (Grimsby)

We should all start by thanking you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and your predecessors in the Chair for allowing on the two new clauses what has effectively been a Third Reading debate. To make the Government Chief Whip rather happier, I can assure him on behalf of the Opposition that we have no intention of repeating all those general speeches on Third Reading.

The first thing the House should be sure about is that we are all discussing the same Bill. From at least the first half of the Under-Secretary's speech we had the impression that the Bill had little to do with a new airport or a new seaport. We had the impression that it was simply a Bill for some nice reclamation of land, and that it would be a matter for decision in a few years' time whether we used the land for hockey pitches or a new airport. Therefore, I take the precaution of reading out the Long Title, which says:

"Maplin Development



To provide for the reclamation from the sea of certain land for the purpose of the establishment of an airport and a seaport in south-east Essex."

We are discussing reclamation of the land for the purpose of building an airport and a seaport.

Anyone who has attended all our previous debates on Maplin will have been struck, as the spokesman for the Liberal Party, the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) remarked earlier, by the extraordinary change in atmosphere between today and our debates a year or two years ago. Those of us who opposed Maplin from the start were a very small band then. It has been quite striking how informed opinion both inside and outside the House has swung continuously and steadily, for a variety of reasons, against the Maplin project.

Even since Second Reading much has changed, and we now have to consider the proposal in the light of the changes. I want briefly to concentrate upon three—the report of the Civil Aviation Authority, the new evidence that we have on noise, and new facts that have come to light about the seaport.

I am not sure that the Under-Secretary summed up the Civil Aviation Authority's report very accurately. Certainly that will be the opinion of hon. Members who have read it. He suggested that there was little difference between the forecasts in the report and those in Roskill. That is not the case. The forecasts in the report about air traffic movements are markedly different from Roskill. They lead the CAA to conclude—I quote, as I shall throughout my speech, from official publications— that the pressure of demand capacity … (measured in terms of runway capacity) will be less severe in the early 1980s than had been expected previously".

It is fair to say that almost every informed commentator who has studied the report has come to the same conclusion—namely, that no additional runway capacity will be needed by 1985. After that time we cannot speculate because new aircraft technologies not merely may but almost certainly will have altered the whole picture. That conclusion was virtually conceded in the famous or notorious letter from Lord Boyd-Carpenter to the Minister for Aerospace and Shipping. The critical sentence was quoted by the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Wilkinson). In the opinion of the Chairman of the CAA no additional runway capacity was needed in the South-East by 1985.

I stress, even though there may be some disagreement among my right hon. and hon. Friends, that that is the situation without an additional runway at Gatwick, with Luton heavily restricted to 20,000 movements a year, with Stansted and Southend carrying no more traffic than they do today and without any provision of any kind for a deliberate diversion of traffic to regional airports.

The Under-Secretary of State, unintentionally I am sure, misled the House. He gave the impression that the CAA report had fully allowed for all possible diversion to regional airports. On the contrary, it made it clear in the first page of its report that it made no allowance for that. That is a matter on which, as the CAA says, Further work needs to be done. …

I am surprised that the Under-Secretary of State did not mention that a cost-benefit study has been presented to the Department of the Environment on the Channel Tunnel. That shows a very much lower forecast of the increase in air traffic over the next 10 years than had previously been supposed. Hon. Members, when they have had time to consider the study in detail, will find that it weakens still further the case for Maplin. Incidentally, the Under-Secretary talked about the relative costs of expanding ground and terminal facilities at Maplin on the one hand and at existing airports on the other. He quoted a lot of figures today for the first time. I should have thought that a similar cost-benefit study on that matter would greatly aid our discussions on Friday.

I now turn to the terminal capacity facilities. There is no dispute that there is a shortage of such facilities and that further investment will be needed. It is fully within the Government's power to authorise the British Airports Authority to undertake that investment. It could do so at a fraction of the cost of a similar investment at Maplin and it could be done within the existing airport perimeters. That is not challenged by the Government because the Minister for Aerospace and Shipping made it clear—I do not think I am misinterpreting him—on 8th May that he accepted that such an investment was possible and that it could be undertaken within the perimeters of the existing airports.

There is little disagreement—I accept that there is still some—that the increase in traffic in the South-East could physically be accommodated at the existing London airports without Maplin and without any additional runway capacity. Therefore, the case for Maplin must rest—the Minister has constantly said this—fundamentally on the environmental argument and particularly on the noise argument. That is, the argument that Maplin is the only way of reducing the appalling noise suffered by the millions of people who are living around Heathrow, and to a lesser extent around the other London airports.

If Ministers could demonstrate that only in such a way could we relieve that suffering, they would have an extremely strong case. However, the noise argument—this is the second one—has changed since Second Reading. A number of new facts and figures have been produced. It is not that the nature of the problem has changed. Some hon. Members representing constituencies around Heathrow and Gatwick have given the impression that only they are concerned with the problem of aircraft noise. That is not so in the slightest degree. Every hon. Member is profoundly concerned with this problem and wishes, as the Government rightly wish, to give an exceptionally high priority to solving it. The question is: what is the best way of solving it?

It has always been clear that Maplin, quite apart from its prodigious cost, would offer only a very long-term and marginal alleviation of the noise problem. After all, with the best will in the world, we cannot have the first runway for seven or eight years; and even when we get it, the extent of the diversion of traffic will be extremely limited and extremely partial because of the airlines' reluctance to go to Maplin.

One of the shrewdest anecdotes told today was that told by the hon. Member for Bristol, North-East (Mr. Adley), who related the true story of the negotiations with Turkey over landing rights. Today that story is duplicated again and again. It is not practical beyond a certain point to attempt to bully foreign airlines into using an airport that they will not use, because their capacity for retaliation is as strong as is ours in the initial bullying.

But even so, if this were the only way of reducing the noise menace, we might have accepted this extremely limited contribution, even at this enormous cost. But I should have thought that it is now clear to everyone in the House that there is an infinitely quicker and more effective solution to the noise problem, and certainly a cheaper method of solving it, and that is surely the development of quieter engines.

Mr. Burden

I draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that on 4th March 1971 he said: I therefore believe that we cannot accept the no third London airport solution, which threatens more noise than would otherwise be the case at existing airports. We must stick to a solution which brings the earliest practicable relief."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1971; Vol. 812, c. 1926.]

Mr. Crosland

Certainly. That was in our first debate after the publication of Roskill. I then accepted the Roskill forecast, which has now been superseded by the CAA forecast. My position has been perfectly clear the whole way through. I thought that one additional runway might be needed, as a bolt-hole for charter flights in the South-East by 1985. I said in that debate that Maplin was the wrong place and that one could find a better site. The Roskill forecasts have now been rendered out of date. I do not now believe that we need an additional runway in the South-East by 1985.

I want to emphasise, in reply to the hon. Member for Hastings (Mr. Warren) and one or two others, that when we are discussing these noise figures we are not discussing them in airy-fairy terms of totally unknown developments. Almost all the calculations of the noise difference between now and 1985 have been made on the basis of official DTI and DOE figures, and none of these calculations contains an element of guesswork or is optimistic in the slightest. These figures show that the present generation of aircraft engines is significanty quiter than the generation now being superseded. It has been calculated that we would bring more relief to Heathrow by replacing all Tridents with TriStars and all 707s with 747s than we would by moving three quarters of the aircraft movements away from Heathrow.

This process will go much further. I stick wholly to the forecast implied in the April 1972 document of the DOE, "Maplin Airport—choice of sites for runways." I shall not weary the House with a lot of figures. I simply draw the attention of the House to recent writings of the two people who, I suppose, have studied this subject most: Dr. Flowerdew, the Deputy Director of Research on the Roskill Commission, and Professor Alan Day, who has circulated a document in the last few days. Both these studies, with forecasts on a number of different assumptions basing themselves solely on Government statistics, show in effect that we could get 10 times the reduction in noise from the introduction of quieter engines than we could ever get from building another runway at Maplin.

Hon. Members


9.30 p.m.

Mr. Crosland

It is not nonsense and it is no good hon. Members saying it is. These figures have not been challenged, and, in my view, they cannot be challenged. They are all based on known technology and they make very little allowance for what the Government could do, which is to produce a faster rate of production of quieter engines if they were to devote half the money due to be spent on Maplin to a positive anti-noise strategy, a strategy that would embrace stricter regulations and certification, pricing incentives, a stronger insistence on retrofits, more pressure on the manufacturers, more research and development. There will be a dramatic reduction in noise by the mid-1980s, and the contribution of Maplin to this reduction is trivial.

It is possible that the contribution of Maplin could be negative in that it takes away scarce funds that could be far more effectively spent in the development of quieter engines. I must say to those who have spoken for the residents around Gatwick and Heathrow that, with respect, their residents are being conned into a false belief that Maplin is the only effect-time way of dealing with the problem. It is nothing of the sort.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

It is important to state that all the advice available from my Department and the Department of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry does not support the suggestions that the right hon. Gentleman has made.

Mr. Crosland

The suggestions I have just made relate to calculations based on projections of aircraft noise in the Department of Environment study on Maplin. Not one of the figures that has been quoted in the debate is based on any other source but the Department's calculations.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

As I understand it, my right hon. Friend has gone over to the position of saying that no third London airport is necessary. In other words, he is agreeing with the diktat of Transport House and the Labour Party programme, saying that there is no need for a third London airport. Is that the position of my right hon. Friend? Is he saying that the Labour Party pronouncement from Transport House is right?

Mr. Crosland

I fear my hon. Friend has struck on one of my weak points, which is my appalling temptation to succumb to the diktats of Transport House. At any rate I can tell my hon. Friend, who I am sure is a strong supporter of the 25 companies motion, that, while I have recently had occasion to say that certain Transport House diktats were half-baked, on this occasion I think it has produced a policy of the greatest shrewdness, subtlety, common sense, what I can only call an essentially Socialist policy.

The Minister for Aerospace and Shipping (Mr. Michael Heseltine)

The right hon. Gentleman made the serious suggestion that in the most recently published document, which is the document published in support of the various sites at Maplin, it would be able to be demonstrated, on the figures he is now claiming to have available, that there would be no noise addition if this traffic were taken not to Maplin but to Heathrow. What I find difficult to square with that statement is the evidence in that document which says that there would be a noise footprint covering 100 square miles within the 35 NNI contour.

Mr. Crosland

I was claiming that it is possible to demonstrate from the figures given in that document, and from the application of those figures, not to Maplin, which is the purpose of the document, but to Heathrow and Gatwick, that even without diversion on a massive scale there will by 1985 be a large reduction in noise round those two airports. The hon. Gentleman must argue this out with Dr. Flowerdew, Professor Day and others. I have a mass of figures demonstrating this, as do other hon. Members. Perhaps this could be taken up later in the debate.

Mr. Heseltine

It is perhaps important to establish that it is not the right hon. Gentleman who is claiming that this noise will not exist; it is his advisers. He must take up the matter with his advisers, as opposed to anything which he claims himself.

Mr. Crosland

It is the hon. Gentleman's advisers who are making these statements. One of the two people I have mentioned is an ex-civil servant and a deputy director of research, and the other is the present adviser to the Civil Aviation Authority. If the hon. Gentleman is challenging the figures which have been much quoted today, then before we finish our debates he should give alternative figures which disprove them.

Mr. Griffiths


Mr. Crosland


Mr. Griffiths

The right hon. Gentleman is asking to be challenged.

Mr. Crosland

If the figures are challenged, let us have a careful presentation of alternative figures and reasons why the other figures are wrong. The House will have to make up its mind about them.

The environmental argument cannot be seen solely in terms of the noise question. Even if there were to be a noise improvement as a result of building Maplin, which I profoundly doubt, there would still be severe environmental costs involved in building Maplin. I shall not speak of the threat to the coastline or to wild life; those are matters for Essex Members. I shall not speak of the new city or industrial complex, which again are mainly matters for Essex Members. I shall not even speak of what may turn out to be the critical environmental factor—the effect of the rail and motorway links and of an eight-lane motorway ploughing through the East End and rural Essex.

It has been rumoured in the Press—I hope that it is not true—that the Department has already decided the routes of the access road and rail links.

The Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Geoffrey Rippon)

Not so.

Mr. Crosland

I am delighted to hear it. It would be a piece of gross deception if the Government had decided them and had not announced them today.

Nevertheless, it will be relevant to our debate later to know, for example, how many homes are to be destroyed in building the motorway. What degree of additional congestion will occur when the new eight-lane motorway meets Ring-way 3, since it is not due to go beyond that? What is the total environmental effect?

I wish to say a few words about the seaport. We heard some very strange things about the seaport from the Under-Secretary today. I thought that at some points he was even giving the impression that no decision in principle had been made about the seaport and that no decision would be made until after further consultation. However, in Committee, he said: When the Port of London Authority submits its detailed application for authority to proceed, it will be the duty of the National Ports Council to consider in great detail not whether there should in principle be a port there—the Government have already indicated that they think this is a good idea—"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 17th May 1973; c. 211.] That suggests that a firm decision in principle has already been taken by the Government on the seaport.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

indicated assent.

Mr. Crosland

We have had it cleared up and a decision has been taken in principle in favour of the seaport.

That is a remarkable decision. We have had no argument in favour of a seaport. We have had no Green Paper of the kind that we have had on the Channel Tunnel. We have had nothing equivalent to the cost-benefit studies and other studies which we have had on the Channel Tunnel. We have had no equivalent of the civil aviation report on air traffic movements for the ports. We have had no facts and figures, no study of the facts about other ports, no hint of how a port at Maplin fits in, if it does, to a national ports policy.

Mr. David Steel

The right hon. Gentleman has touched on an important point. He has had a nod from the Under-Secretary of State to the proposition that the Government have decided in principle on the seaport, but the Minister clearly told the House this afternoon that they have not.

Mr. Crosland

I confess that it was my firm impression that the Minister had told the House this afternoon that the Government were not committed, but, because the Minister nodded, I was willing to accept his word. My impression is entirely the same as that of the hon. Member for Roxburgh Selkirk and Peebles.

Mr. Griffiths

The right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland) is being somewhat unfair. He knows, because he has been in government, that it is the duty of my right hon. and learned Friend and the Minister for Transport Industries to indicate to the National Ports Council that the Government think it appropriate that there should be a port here or there. It is then for the National Ports Council under the 1964 Act to consider the matter in detail and to advise my right hon and learned Friend whether or not he should allow the necessary funds. That is the process that is now going on. We have been advised that there is a need for more capacity in the Thames area, and the National Ports Council is now considering that decision in principle to see whether it should advise us to go forward in detail.

Mr. Crosland

The hon. Gentleman is not clarifying matters. I take it that the House can accept that a decision has been made in principle by the Government that a seaport will be built at Maplin, and the National Ports Council is to be asked simply for detailed advice on the size, scale and so on. [Interruption.] It is a bit late to ask whether the port is commercially viable if the decision has been taken.

I have three queries in relation to this decision of principle in favour of a Maplin port. The first relates to regional policy and what effect this port investment will have on prospective port development on Clydeside, Humberside, Merseyside, Southampton and elsewhere, and what possible justification there can be in the light of regional policy for this new port investment and associated industrial investment in the South-East.

Secondly, there is the environmental effect. We know that the port will take 2,500 acres of land, even if that land is reclaimed. It will engender still more traffic and congestion in this part of Essex. If the Port of London Authority has its way, it will encourage the building of still more oil refineries in Essex. Is this what the people of Essex want?

Sir Bernard Braine

They do not.

Mr. Crosland

They do not. If one is to judge by the almost venomous reaction to the Canvey Island proposals, there will be violent reaction in Essex on environmental grounds.

My third question is whether this bears any relation to anything that can possibly be called a national ports policy. The answer is that it does not. There clearly is no such thing as a collective national ports policy, and we learned from the newspapers yesterday that even the Chairman of the British Transport Docks Board had not been consulted about this

proposal and thought that Southampton was a better site for a container terminal.

I conclude that no rational case can be made out for going ahead. We do not need further airport capacity in the South-East by 1985 and we shall possibly never need it. There are far more effective ways of combating the noise nuisance than this. The case for the seaport has not been made out. We have no information about the number of houses that will be affected and the damage to the environment that will be created by the building of access roads.

I hope that the Minister will be prepared to demonstrate his willingness to change his mind. I accept, as did my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins), what an extremely difficult and disagreeable thing that is for a Minister to do, but I hope he will do it. It is an occasion when public duty points to a willingly conceded change of mind in the light of obviously altered circumstances. I assure him that, if he does it, there will be no gloating or exultation from myself or any person on the Opposition benches.

If the Minister is not willing to change his mind, in spite of what he said we shall press our new clause to a vote. If new Clause 2 is pressed to a vote, we shall support that provision because it would at least give some opportunity for second thoughts and would contain some element of an insurance policy on what still—perhaps even more after this debate than before—promises to be the most disastrous investment decision of a generation.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 255, Noes 258.

Division No. 153.] AYES [9.45 p.m.
Abse, Leo Boothroyd, Miss B. (West Brom.) Concannon, J. D.
Allaun, Frank (Salford. E.) Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Corbet, Mrs. Freda
Allen, Scholefield Braine, Sir Bernard Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Broughton, Sir Alfred Crawshaw, Richard
Ashley, Jack Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Cronin, John
Ashton, Joe Buchan, Norman Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony
Atkinson, Norman Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Crouch, David
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)
Beaney, Alan Cant, R. B. Dalyell, Tam
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Carmichael, Neil Darling, Rt. Hn. George
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Davidson, Arthur
Bidwell, Sydney Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)
Bishop, E. S. Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Clark, David (Colne Valley) Davies, Ifor (Gower)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Cohen, Stanley Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)
Booth, Albert Coleman, Donald Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)
Deakins, Eric Kaufman, Gerald Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Kelley, Richard Prescott, John
Delargy, Hugh Kinnock, Neil Price, William (Rugby)
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Lambie, David Probert, Arthur
Dempsey, James Lamborn, Harry Radice, Giles
Doig, Peter Lamond, James Rankin, John
Dormand, J. D. Latham, Arthur Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Lawson, George Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Leadbitter, Ted Rhodes, Geoffrey
Driberg, Tom Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Duffy, A. E. P. Leonard, Dick Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Dunn, James A. Lestor, Miss Joan Robertson, John (Paisley)
Dunnett, Jack Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Roderick, Caerwyn E.(B'c'n&R'dnor)
Edelman, Maurice Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lipton, Marcus Roper, John
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Lomas, Kenneth Rose, Paul B.
Ellis, Tom Loughlin, Charles Ross. Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
English, Michael Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Rowlands, Ted
Evans, Fred Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne
Ewing, Henry McAdden, Sir Stephen Short, Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. McBride, Neil Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.)
Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham,Ladywood) McCartney, Hugh Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) McElhone, Frank Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McGuire, Michael Sillars, James
Foot, Michael Machin, George Silverman, Julius
Ford, Ben Mackenzie, Gregor Skinner Dennis
Forrester, John Mackie, John Small William
Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Fraser, John (Norwood) McNamara, J. Kevin Spearing, Nigel
Freeson, Reginald Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Springs, Leslie
Galpern, Sir Myer Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Stallard A. W.
Garrett, W. E. Marquand, David Steel David
Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Marsden, F. Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Golding, John Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Gourlay, Harry Mayhew, Christopher Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Grant, George (Morpeth) Meacher, Michael Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Swain, Thomas
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mendelson, John Taverne, Dick
Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Mikardo, Ian Thomas, Rt.Hn. George (Cardiff,W.)
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Millan, Bruce Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Hamling, William Miller, Dr. M. S. Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Milne, Edward Tinn, James
Hardy, Peter Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Tomney, Frank
Harper, Joseph Moate, Roger Tope, Graham
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Molloy, William Torney, Tom
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Tuck, Raphael
Hattersley, Roy Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Urwin, T. W.
Heffer, Eric S. Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Varley, Eric G.
Hooson, Emlyn Moyle, Roland Wainwright, Edwin
Horam, John Murray, Ronald King Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints
Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Nabarro, Sir Gerald Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Oakes, Gordon Wallace, George
Huckfield, Leslie Ogden, Eric Watkins, David
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) O'Halloran, Michael Weitzman, David
Hughes, Mark (Durham) O'Malley, Brian Wellbeloved, James
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Oram, Bert Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Orbach, Maurice White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Orme, Stanley Whitehead, Phillip
Janner, Greville Oswald, Thomas Whitlock, William
Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Jeger, Mrs. Lena Padley, Walter Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Paget, R. T. Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
John, Brynmor Palmer, Arthur Woof, Robert
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Pardoe, John
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Parker, John (Dagenham) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Mr. Ernest Armstrong and
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Pavitt, Laurie Mr. Michael Cocks.
Judd, Frank Perry, Ernest G.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Bowden, Andrew
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Bell, Ronald Bray, Ronald
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Brewis, John
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)
Astor, John Benyon, W. Bryan, Sir Paul
Atkins, Humphrey Berry, Hn. Anthony Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus,N&M)
Awdry, Daniel Biffen, John Buck, Anthony
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Biggs-Davison, John Bullus, Sir Eric
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Blaker, Peter Burden, F. A.
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Butler, Adam (Bosworth)
Batsford, Brian Boscawen, Hn. Robert Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn)
Carlisle, Mark Holt, Miss Mary Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Hordern, Peter Quennell, Miss J. M.
Cary, Sir Robert Hornby, Richard Raison, Timothy
Chapman, Sydney Hornsby-Smith, Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Chichester-Clark, R. Howell, David (Guildford) Redmond, Robert
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Reed, Laurance (Bolton. E.)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hunt, John Rees, Peter (Dover)
Cockeram, Eric Hutchison, Michael Clark Rees-Davies, W. R.
Cooke, Robert Iremonger, T. L. Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Coombs, Derek James, David Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Cooper, A. E. Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Cormack, Patrick Jessel, Toby Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Costain, A. P. Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Critchley, Julian Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Crowder, F. P. Jopling, Michael Russell, Sir Ronald
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Joseph, Rt. Kn. Sir Keith St. John-Stevas, Norman
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj. -Gen. Jack Kershaw, Anthony Scott, Nicholas
Dean, Paul Kimball, Marcus Scott-Hopkins, James
Digby, Simon Wingfield King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Dixon, piers King, Tom (Bridgwater) Shelton, William (Clapham)
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Kirk, Peter Shersby, Michael
Drayson, G. B. Kitson, Timothy Simeons, Charles
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Knight, Mrs. Jill Sinclair, Sir George
Dykes, Hugh Knox, David Skeet, T. H. H.
Eden, Sir John Lamont, Norman Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Lane, David Soref, Harold
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Langford-Holt, Sir John Speed, Keith
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) Le Marchant, Spencer Spence, John
Emery, Peter Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Sproat, Iain
Eyre, Reginald Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Stainton, Keith
Farr, John Loveridge, John Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy MacArthur, Ian Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Fidler, Michael McCrindle, R. A. Stokes John
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) McLaren, Martin Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Sutcliffe John
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Tapsell, Peter
Fookes, Miss Janet McNair-Wilson, Michael Taylor Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Fortescue, Tim McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Taylor Edward M. (G'gow,Cathcart)
Foster, Sir John Maddan, Martin Taylor Frank (Moss Side)
Fowler, Norman Madel, David Temple, John M.
Fox, Marcus Maginnis, John E. Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D. Marples, Rt. Hn, Ernest Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Gardner, Edward Marten, Neil Thompson Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Gibson-Walt, David Mather, Carol Tilney, John
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Glyn, Dr. Alan Mawby, Ray Trew, Peter
Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Meyer, Sir Anthony Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Goodhart, Philip Mills, Peter (Torrington) Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Gorst, John Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Vickers, Dame Joan
Gower, Raymond Miscampbell, Norman Waddington, David
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Gray, Hamish Money, Ernie Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Green, Alan Monks, Mrs. Connie Wall, Patrick
Grieve, Percy Monro, Hector Walters, Dennis
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Montgomery, Fergus Ward, Dame Irene
Grylls, Michael More, Jasper Warren, Kenneth
Gummer, J. Selwyn Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Weatherill, Bernard
Gurden, Harold Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Wells, John (Maidstone)
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Neave, Airey Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Hall, John (Wycombe) Nicholls, Sir Harmar Wiggin, Jerry
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Winterton, Nicholas
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Normanton, Tom Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Hannam, John (Exeter) Nott, John Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Onslow, Cranley Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Haselhurst, Alan Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Woodnutt, Mark
Hastings, Stephen Page, Graham (Crosby) Worsley, Marcus
Havers, Michael Page, John (Harrow, W.) Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Hawkins, Paul Parkinson, Cecil Younger, Hn. George
Hay, John Percival, Ian
Heseltine, Michael Pike, Miss Mervyn
Hicks, Robert Pink, R. Bonner
Higgins, Terence L. Pounder, Rafton TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Hiley, Joseph Price, David (Eastleigh) Mr. Walter Clegg and Mr. Oscar Murton.
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L
Holland, Philip Proudfoot, Wilfred

Question accordingly negatived.

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