HL Deb 31 January 1984 vol 447 c550

2.46 p.m.

Lord Braye

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, in view of the recent air disaster by collision on the ground at Madrid Airport, whether surface movement indicators (ground radar) could be installed at all our major airports excepting Heathrow (which is already so equipped); and, if so, when.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (Lord Trefgarne)

My Lords, the Civil Aviation Authority is installing surface movement radar in the new control tower now under construction at Gatwick Airport. The equipment is expected to be in service in the autumn of this year. There are no plans at present to install surface movement radar at other airports.

Lord Braye

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, for his very kind Answer. Is he aware that considerable sums of money have been spent on airports all over England, and that passenger safety must come first? Therefore, in view of the appalling accidents which have occurred abroad, could not somebody in the Government ask that all our major airports be equipped with this equipment?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, nobody regrets more than I do the accidents to which my noble friend has referred, but there are a number of different criteria which must be satisfied before we can justify the installation of the equipment. So far we, or more accurately the CAA, has been able to see its way clear to install the equipment only at the airport that I have mentioned.