HC Deb 27 November 1978 vol 959 cc5-6
5. Mr. Jessel

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will seek to arrange that aircraft will not be allowed to take off from airports near built-up areas during the half-hour when outdoor services are held before the two minutes silence on Remembrance Sunday.

Mr. Clinton Davis

There are restrictions on aircraft taking off from Heathrow and Gatwick to ensure that the two minutes silence is not broken, but a prohibition on take-offs for half an hour would impose unacceptable constraints on the handling of air traffic. Arrangements at other airports are primarily a matter for the airport authorities concerned.

Mr. Jessel

What about what is acceptable to people on the ground? Cannot the hon. Member show rather more respect to the quite large number of people who, for just half an hour every year, want to concentrate on remembering those who laid down their lives for the country in two world wars? For example, at Twickenham last Remembrance Sunday, a fortnight ago, 400 people were interrupted during the half-hour service nine times by aircraft taking off. Cannot he take another look at this?

Mr. Davis

I am sympathetic towards the comments of the hon. Member. However, what he suggests would lead to very great difficulties about the stacking of aircraft. Already a constraint is imposed so that there are no take-offs during the period just before and just after the two minutes silence. As for the hon. Member's comments about Twickenham, this is the first complaint that I have received. Generally speaking, over the years very few complaints on this matter have been received.