§ Mr. Eyre
As the hon. Member knows from the reply to his previous question on this subject on 26 November 1980, aerial crop spraying is the concern of the Civil Aviation Authority. Any complaints received by my Department would be forwarded to the authority for investigation. In each of the last three years the following numbers of complaints were received in the Department:
1978 — 2 1979 — 3 1980 — 3
§ Mr. Eyre
Any follow-up action in respect of alleged irregularities concerning aerial crop spraying is a matter for the Civil Aviation Authority.
The authority has provided the following information. In each of the years 1978 and 1979 one pilot was prosecuted and fined. One case in 1980 is still being investigated with a view to possible prosecution. The authority sent eight cautionary letters in 1978 to operators about incidents which might have reflected on the manner in which pilots conducted operations; nine letters in 1979 and eight in 1980.
Licensing action involving suspension or revocation can only be taken on safety grounds and is not intended to be punitive. There has been no suspension or revocation of pilots' licences involving agricultural aviation pilots in the last three years.