§ Mr. Parry
asked the Secretary of Transport (1) if he will introduce legislation to license schools which train pupils for lessons in parachute drops; and if he will make a statement;
(2) if he has any plans to introduce legislation to require a minimum number of lessons from a qualified instructor before pupils can take part in sky jumps; and if he will make a statement;
(3) how many people have been (a) killed and (b) injured as a result of parachuting accidents in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Michael Spicer
I understand from the Civil Aviation Authority that each year about 250,000 civilian parachute drops take place in the UK and that in the last three years the numbers of people(a) killed and (b) injured in such drops has been as follows:—
1983 1984 1985 (a) killed 1 4 2 (b) seriously injured 1 40 21 minor injuries (including ground training) 187 232 229
The Civil Aviation Authority has statutory responsibility for the regulation of parachuting, under article 41 of the Air Navigation Order 1985. No club or school may operate without the authority's written permission. Operations and training must comply with the safety procedures laid down by the CAA, and with the guidance given by the British Parachute Association, both of which are set out in the clubs' operations manuals. The BPA is responsible for the day-to-day control of the sport, and sets basic training requirements for all parachutists. It also advises the CAA on procedures and in deciding whether 401W clubs may operate. These arrangements have worked well for a long time and I do not believe that further legislation is necessary.
Parachuting is generally a safe sport; but, however good the regulation, it must by its nature always contain an element of danger. Individuals should take account of this in deciding whether to take part.