HC Deb 23 April 2004 vol 420 cc679-80W
Mrs. Dunwoody

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether comprehensive simulation of the airspace management implications of possible runway development options for the south east of England was undertaken prior to the publication of the Aviation White Paper on 16 December 2003; and what plans (a) National Air Traffic Services and (b) the Civil Aviation Authority have to undertake such a simulation. [166544]

Mr. Darling

Pursuant to my answer of 19 April 2004,Official Report, column 307W, I referred to the level of airspace modelling work that the Department commissioned CAA-DAP and NATS to carry out as part of the SERAS Study in advance of the White Paper. The primary objective of this work was to simulate several airport development scenarios to assess whether the London airspace system could accommodate runway capacities of the order envisaged by the development options.

However, now that the White Paper has been published, it is necessary to move from simulations to develop a comprehensive redesign of London's airspace. Paragraph 12.26 of the White Paper confirms that the Government looks to CAA to make early progress in bringing forward a structured programme for this work. The White Paper also makes it clear that CAA will need to involve NATS in working up its detailed proposals.