HC Deb 23 February 1939 vol 344 cc603-4W
Sir R. Glyn

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will inquire into all cases of acquisition of land for aerodrome extension or construction which involve the destruction of open spaces used for purposes of recreation, and in each case arrange for a local inquiry before making use of compulsory powers in order to ascertain whether other suitable land could be used, and, if this is not the case, that any amenities and facilities for recreation should be reinstated on a suitable site without cost to the community?

Sir K. Wood

Royal Air Force aerodromes are so situated that interference with public recreational grounds is extremely unlikely to occur. So far as can be ascertained, there has been only one case in which the Air Ministry has acquired such land under statutory powers, and on that occasion the public was not only provided with other land for its use, but allowed to retain certain rights over the land purchased. I should add that compulsory powers are never used until local investigations have failed to discover a suitable alternative to the site selected.

When land is acquired by the Air Ministry for civil aviation purposes, a public local inquiry must be held if objections are raised. In the case of compulsory acquisition by a local authority, the orders made by the authority require confirmation by the Secretary of State, and a public inquiry is normally held if objections are raised which cannot otherwise be disposed of.

The present procedure would seem to afford adequate safeguards of the kind which the hon. and gallant Baronet has in mind.