§ 3.18 p.m.
My Lords, if it meets the convenience of your Lordships, and in view of the undertaking which my noble friend the Leader of the House gave to the noble Baroness, Lady Burton of Coventry, at Question Time yesterday, I should like to make a further Statement on the West London Air Terminal.
In order to clarify their position B.E.A. have to-day issued a statement, and with your Lordships' permission I will read it. The statement is as follows:B.E.A. are co-operating with the Metra Consulting Group on a study being made at Heathrow Airport. The Corporation wish to make it clear that they have made no decision to withdraw check-in facilities at the West London Air Terminal and furthermore that no decision will be taken until after the Metra Report has been completed. The Report is expected about the end of this year.My Lords, that is the end of B.E.A.'s statement.
The House will recall that on August 4 last I gave the noble Baroness an assurance that B.E.A.'s decision to close the check-in facilities at the West London Air Terminal would be delayed until after the Metra Consulting Group's Report was made. The statement which has been issued by B.E.A. to-day makes it clear that the assurance which I gave to this House on August 4 stands.
§ BARONESS BURTON OF COVENTRY
My Lords, I should like to thank the Minister and the Leader of the House for obtaining this statement. May I say that I welcome the co-operation being shown between B.E.A. and the Metra Group. May I ask the Minister whether this corrected statement will be published by B.E.A. in a forthcoming edition of their B.E.A. News, because in the edition of October 12 some three pages were given to the erroneous statement that was made last week?
My Lords, I am aware of what was written in that newspaper, and it is in order to clarify the position that B.E.A. have made this statement to-day. I am quite certain that it would be improper for me to conjecture as to what would be put in the next issue of B.E.A.'s newspaper, but I am sure they have every desire to see that their reports are as accurate as possible.
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, we admire the use of the word "clarify" here, but may one ask the noble Earl whether "controvert" would not be a better word to use?
§ LORD TREFGARNE
My Lords, can the noble Earl tell us how members of the public can get in touch with the Metra Consulting Group, assuming that they do not have the good fortune to be questioned by the Group at Heathrow?
My Lords, the Metra Consulting Group are undertaking a certain project which has been laid on by my right honourable friend, and they have had to determine how best to get in touch with members of the public. As I told my noble friend on a previous occasion, some 1,200 people have been consulted.
My Lords, if my noble friend has any point which he wishes to draw to their attention, if he would be kind enough to let me have it I will see that it is passed on to the Group concerned.