§ Mr. R. Bell
asked the Minister of Supply what action he is taking to mitigate the disturbance to the public in the 137W neighbourhood of airfields arising from the manufacture or repair of aircraft.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
I am continuing the extensive programme of research and development, estimated to cost some £100,000 this year, to which I referred in my answer to a Question by the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Warbey) on 15th November. The fruits of this research will be made freely available to those concerned.
All manufacturers and repairers of aircraft have recently been approached concerning their responsibility to do their utmost to reduce disturbance to the public by noise; and have been asked to review their arrangements for noise reduction at airfields which they use. I have arranged for the information received in reply to this approach to be supplemented by visits by my staff to establish the extent of the problem at each airfield concerned, and to recommend to firms action that may seem appropriate in the light of the knowledge available to us.
The results so far achieved give grounds for hoping that manufacturers will be able to mitigate substantially the disturbance that their important programmes of work would otherwise cause. Since, however, sound reduction equipment for use with complete aircraft, particularly four-engined aircraft, is still in the development stage, progress is bound to be gradual.