HC Deb 14 February 1977 vol 926 cc27-8
31. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, having regard to the increase in noise nuisance and possible hazard to which residents living under the flight paths will be subject if the proposed extension to Heathrow terminals is permitted to go ahead, he will forbid this development.

Mr. Clinton Davis

The noise and safety implications will be taken carefully into account in the consideration of proposals to expand Heathrow, but I cannot anticipate the outcome of the present consultations on airports policy.

Mr. Jenkins

Is my hon. Friend aware that the proposal substantially to expand the facilities at Heathrow is almost tantamount to the creation of an additional facility? The consequence must mean that people who live underneath the Heathrow glidepath will suffer a greater degree of annoyance than has happened hitherto. If it is necessary to expand the number of landings in the area, would it not be more reasonable to expand landings elsewhere—for example, at Stansted instead of at Heathrow?

Mr. Davis

The considerations that my hon. Friend has invited me to undertake are part and parcel of the consultation process, which, we hope, will shortly be concluded. As to the increase in the facilities at Heathrow, my hon. Friend will know that there is an increased use of the larger-bodied, quieter-engined aircraft, and the conclusions that he has drawn are not necessarily true.

Mr. Jessel

Do not people living around Heathrow already suffer from an intolerable nuisance, and if another terminal is opened will not the nuisance inevitably increase? Will the Government allow that to happen?

Mr. Davis

I hope that the intolerable nuisance to which the hon. Gentleman referred was not the correspondence with me in which he indulges. I do not regard the correspondence in that light. I have said on many occasions that people who live under flight paths are faced with real difficulties. The Government are taking steps—and have done so steadily since 1974—to moderate some of these difficulties.