§ Lord Gainford
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What progress has been made by the working group on Runway Capacity in the South East (RUCATSE).
The Earl of Caithness
The RUCATSE working group has made good progress in its study of the wider implications of the provision of additional runway capacity to serve the South East. Starting from 10 sites identified by the CAA in its report CAP 570, four (Bristol/Filton; Bristol/Lulsgate; Bournemouth; and Southampton) were judged unlikely to make a substantial contribution to meeting demand and were therefore remitted for further consideration by the group's Regional Airports Sub-Group. Further work is being undertaken to assess the contribution that Lydd and Manston could make; and Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and Stansted are now subject to a detailed examination, covering the notional runway alignments identified in CAP 570 and others, environmental impacts, noise and surface access issues. In addition, the promoters of an offshore airport in the Thames Estuary (Marinair) have made a presentation to RUCATSE and have undertaken to do some further detailed work. It is intended that a report on Marinair will be submitted in parallel with the final RUCATSE report.
RUCATSE hopes to complete its work by next summer in the form of a report which can be expected to set out the advantages and disadvantages of 14WA development at a number of sites. We intend to publish the report as soon as it is ready and at that stage there will be a full public consultation on the group's findings. It will ultimately be for promoters rather than government to make specific proposals, which would in turn be subject to the normal planning processes.