HL Deb 31 July 1968 vol 296 cc361-4

[No. 8]

After Clause 6, insert the following new clause—

Facilities for consultation at certain aerodromes

".—(1) This section applies to any aerodrome which is managed by a person other than the British Airports Authority and is designated for the purposes of this section by an order made by the Board of Trade.

(2) The person having the management of any aerodrome to which this section applies shall provide for users of the areodrome, for any local authority (or, if the person having the management of the aerodrome is a local authority, for any other local authority) in whose area the aerodrome or any part thereof is situated or whose area is in the neighbourhood of the aerodrome and for any other organisation representing the interests of persons concerned with the locality in which the aerodrome is situated, adequate facilities for consultation with respect to any matter concerning the management or administration of the aerodrome which affects their interests.

(3) Any order under this section shall be made by statutory instrument and may be varied or revoked by a subsequent order under this section, but any order varying or revok ing a previous order under this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament."


My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 8. This Amendment makes provision for facilities for consultation at certair aerodromes. Under Section 17 of the Civil Aviation Act 1949 the Board of Trade must make such provision as the Board thinks necessary to ensure that adequate facilities are provided for consulation in respect of Board of Trade aerodromes. There is a similar statutory requirement on the British Airports Authority; but there are other aerodromes in the country where there is not such a statutory obligation upon those who administer them. In order to meet the request put forward in another place, this Amendment has been included. I hope that it will be agreed by your Lordships. I beg to move.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment (No.8).—(Lord Beswick.)


My Lords, I am grateful for the explanation by the noble Lord of this new clause, which of course we have not discussed before. As the noble Lord said, it was included largely due to pressure from the Opposition in another place. There are three questions that I should like to ask. First, for what type of airfield is it intended that this clause will qualify? Second, what do the words in subsection (2). "adequate facilities for consultation", really mean?—and here I am thinking of future guidance for airport managers and for the public. Thirdly, what, in fact, in practice is intended will happen after consultations have taken place? For instance, will at be the duty of the airport manager, having consulted the public, the residents and the users of the airfields, to see that their views are taken into account? There does not seem to be a safeguard for that in this clause. Otherwise, my Loris, I welcome the clause and its purpose, which is to keep people generally informed.

5.10 p.m.


My Lords, I am asked what type of airfield or airport is likely to be designated by the President for the purpose of this clause. It would be an airport on which there is a considerable amount of traffic. It would be an airport on which there is likely to be generated a certain amount of noise; and generally, one in which there would be an interest by the surrounding cornmunities. If there were clearly a demand for consultative provisions by the surrounding local authorities or residential associations, that would be the kind of airport which the President would be likely to designate for this purpose.

I was asked by the noble Earl what was meant by "adequate facilities". He would require that in these designated airports there should be adequate facilities for consultation. I take the point of the noble Earl that "adequate" may be stretched or concentrated hut, by and large, what is in mind is the sort of facility which is enjoyed by the consultative councils now attached under the Statute to the airports administered by the British Airports Authority. The noble Earl also asked what would be the effect of the consultations; whether the recommendations of the consultative councils or committees that were set up be mandatory on the airport managing authority. The answer to that is, "No". There would be no question, of course, of the consultative committee managing the airport, but if recommendations by the the consultative body were not satisfactorily attended to by the airport manager. if the body felt that their representations were not being properly listened to they would be able to go to the Board of Trade in exactly the same way as the consultative committee or councils now attached to Heathrow can, and make an appeal to the President of the Board of Trade. But generally speaking I should not have thought that this would arise.

What is wanted here, and what I should think the noble Earl would agree would be useful, in the interests of the airport managers as well as those in the residential areas, is good community relations. It is in the best interests of all concerned that there should be this understanding of one another's problems, and it is hoped that the arrangements which will be set up under this provision will enable the best type of public relations or community relations, to be enjoyed.

On Question, Motion agreed to.