HL Deb 19 January 1989 vol 503 cc329-30

3.12 p.m.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter asked Her Majesty's Government:

What relaxations they intend to make next summer in the restrictions on night take-offs and landings at airports in South-East England.

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, the Government do not propose to relax the night noise restrictions at Heathrow and Gatwick next summer. At Stansted, where there are comparatively few night flights, the restrictions apply only to the noisiest types of aircraft. The case for relaxing these does not arise. A series of measures aimed at relieving air congestion this year is being implemented by National Air Traffic Services hut, in the event of widespread or prolonged disruption, the airport managers are empowered to exempt delayed flights from the quotas.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that comprehensive reply. I ask whether it amounts to this: that in general the Government are not prepared to relax night landing restrictions save in difficulties and emergencies. However, they believe that they have some other method for dealing with the shortage of runways.

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, our new night restrictions were introduced only last April after widespread public consultation. Our intention remains to see an improvement in the noise climate at airports. We do not wish to renege on promises made to the airport communities. Therefore we do not propose to alter our night noise regime. However, as I said in my original Answer, dispensations can be given in the event of widespread and difficult delays, and those will continue.

Lord Ferrier

My Lords, do my noble friend the Minister and his department fully appreciate that if only British Rail provided adequate rail services to and from Prestwick airport, pressure on other airports would be relieved? If the ancillary air services could be improved the same would apply.

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords. I think that Prestwick airport is a very different subject from the one on the Order Paper and one on which I have only recently written to my noble friend.