HC Deb 24 July 1978 vol 954 cc1137-8
13. Mr. Jessel

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many letters he has received from the hon. Member for Twickenham concerning all aspects of aircraft noise and action which might reduce it since March 1974; and what action he has taken.

Mr. Clinton Davis

I have received 205 letters from the hon. Member in the period. I have taken these into account in reaching decisions on noise abatement matters.

Mr. Jessel

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, while we do not always agree with everything that he has done and has not done in this connection, his continuing courtesy in dealing not only with those 205 letters but in holding about a dozen meetings and replying to about 50 Questions has been appreciated by some of my constituents? Will he now say what further action he will take to extend the hours of the night ban at Heathrow and speed the introduction of quieter aircraft?

Mr. Davis

I am most grateful to the hon. Gentleman. No doubt my reply will feature in his election address—and his reply might well feature in mine in due course. He knows, from discussions that I have had with him, that the most effective way of getting a solution to the problem of noise, or at least a partial solution, is the acquisition and operation of quieter aircraft. We have set out our policy in that regard in the White Paper, and I have nothing to add at this stage to what was said then.

Mr. Wrigglesworth

Will my hon. Friend confirm that, in contrast with the protests made by the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel), there have been no protests about noise levels with regard to Teesside airport? Will my hon. Friend therefore think again about giving it B status? Will he tell us the outcome of the discussions that he has had about this matter in recent days?

Mr. Davis

I do not think that I have had any problems or complaints about noise from Teesside, but I have had other complaints, and my hon. Friend has adverted to one of them. I do not believe that there is a case for having a category B airport at Teesside. We had a useful meeting the other day with those who were propounding that cause, but I believe that they understood at the end of the day, having regard to the fact that Newcastle was a B category airport, that there was no real case for a category B airport at Teesside as well.