HC Deb 05 May 1975 vol 891 cc1002-3
9 . Mr. Wrigglesworth

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on the comments submitted to him by the Civil Aviation Authority on the Northern Airport Study.

The Under-Secretary of State for Trade (Mr. Clinton Davis)

I refer my hon. Friend to the replies given to him on 28th April—[Vol. 891, c. 27]—and to my hon. Friend the Member for Stockport. North (Mr. Bennett) on 16th April.—[Vol. 890, c. 131.]

Mr. Wrigglesworth

I thank my hon. Friend for that not entirely unexpected reply. Recognising the anxiety felt in many areas because of the conflicting evidence coming from the Civil Aviation Authority and the independent study of the Northern Region, will he tell us when he proposes to publish his consultative document and when the Government intend to decide what their policy shall be?

Mr. Davis

There are two consultative documents. One is on the London area airports, which we hope will be published before the Summer Recess. My right hon. Friend hopes to make a statement at the same time.

The consultative document on the regional airports will be published some months later than, but we hope not too long after, the original consultative document on the London airports. In both cases there will be a period of discussion with the local authorities and other people concerned. That will probably extend over a period of six months. The Government will then make their decision. However, it is most important that we should have a clear and detailed discussion with the authorities concerned after publication of both consultative documents.

Mr. Brittan

While appreciating the need for a full discussion on these matters, may I ask whether the hon. Gentleman accepts that there is a certain urgency concerning the North-East, particularly as Teesside is the major centre for North Sea oil? It is a matter of great national importance which is dependent on having adequate facilities, including airport facilities, in the areas covered by industries getting themselves ready for the coming in of North Sea oil.

Mr. Davis

We are well aware of the urgency of the matter and of the considerations referred to by the hon. Gentleman. It would be wholly wrong for us to engage in a truncated form of discussion. It is most important that everyone who has a voice to be heard in this matter should have an opportunity of expressing views to the Government, and that the Government should then make up their mind. It is a great pity that the previous Government did not exercise the same care as we have exercised over this vital matter of national policy.