HC Deb 15 March 1976 vol 907 cc932-3
21. Sir George Young

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has any plans to introduce legislation to provide for the fitting of hush kits to conventional jet aircraft.

28. Mr. Ronald Bell

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to announce a decision about the retrofitting of the older types of jet aircraft now in service.

Mr. Clinton Davis

Studies show that the noise reduction that might be achieved by the fitting of hush kits to older types of jet aircraft now in service is disappointing; there would be a minimal, relatively short-lived, noise reduction, at large cost. We have not, however, come to any final decision, and I am arranging for a summary of the studies to be placed in the Library in the course of the next few days. We shall be opening discussions with aircraft operators and other interested parties on alternative ways of bringing about a reduction in total aircraft noise disturbance.

Sir G. Young

Is the Minister aware of the inconvenience and distress caused to my constituents and others in West London by aircraft landing at Heathrow? When does he hope to reach the final decision to which he referred in his reply?

Mr. Davis

I am fully aware of the inconvenience and annoyance—a point touched on by my right hon. Friend in answering an earlier question. The matter is a difficult one, which requires international consideration. We shall be considering it with our colleagues on ECAC, and we await American reflections on this important issue.

Mr. Bell

Is the Minister aware that a great deal of the noise nuisance in constituencies around London Airport comes from the older jets and that it is the older jets which are exempt from the requirements of the Order relating to noise limitation? Is the list of aircraft types excluded from the operation of the Order, which can be known to hon. Members from the deposited paper in the Library, public knowledge, or can it be made so? Lastly——

Mr. Speaker

Order. I should not be fair to other hon. Members I have corrected if I allowed the hon. and learned Gentleman to go on any longer.

Mr. Davis

I am aware that the older aircraft are exempt from the United Kingdom Air Navigaton Noise Certification Order 1970, which is the legislation to which the hon. and learned Gentleman alluded. Older-design aircraft produced after 1st January 1976 are no longer so exempt, but these will be the aircraft first phased out. In due course that will materially reduce the disturbance that the hon. and learned Gentleman's constituents are experiencing.