Civil Aviation Bill
Lord Davies of Oldham (Deputy Chief Whip (House of Lords), HM Household; Labour)
My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend who, as ever, has expressed my argument more succinctly than I have managed to do. The amendment would give these bodies a power of veto, and we do not think that they are constructed in such a way as to enable them to exert such powers. In addition, not all airports have been designated for the purposes of Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982. Therefore, not all airports will have a consultative committee to be involved in any noise control scheme the airport might establish. We would expect such airports, which are likely to be small, to make proportionate arrangements to ensure that their noise control scheme—including payments from penalties, which they would enjoy to a lesser degree—was reasonable and transparent. It is important to ensure that the legislation is sufficiently flexible to deal with the widely differing circumstances of British airports and the arrangements they expect to make with their local community.
This is a good shot on the part of the noble Baroness. I commend the obvious objective of having the penalty payments used for the benefit of the local community who are most directly affected by the noise and pollution that an airport inevitably produces. But as my noble friend says, we do not think that airport consultative committees can exercise a veto. What is more, no such bodies exist in many small airports.