§ Dr. Cable
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 6 March 2002,Official Report, column 375W, on airports, what further research has been commissioned and when the research is due to be reported; to whom the results will be published; who has been commissioned to carry out the research; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Jamieson
Further research has been commissioned by the Department to reassess attitudes to aircraft noise in England; their correlation with the Leq noise index; and to examine (hypothetical) willingness to pay in respect of nuisance from such noise, in relation to other elements, on the basis of stated preference (SP) survey evidence.
The consultation document "The Future of Aviation" (DETR December 2000) explained that further research into the monetary valuation of the effects of noise may be needed to inform charging strategies. The research is designed to underpin the Government's stated principle set out in "A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone" (Cm3950) that the aviation industry should meet the external costs it imposes.
The research contract was awarded to a consortium led by the MVA Consultancy last November and is expected to last approximately three years. The work is split into two stages with Phase I focusing on i) the development of the sampling strategy and assessment of the feasibility of using Stated Preference techniques and ii) an initial assessment of the Leq/annoyance relationship. This phase is expected to last until the end of the year. A decision to proceed to Phase II will depend on the Phase I findings. The results of the research will be disseminated widely.