asked the Secretary of State for Air (1) what indication or undertaking that the R.A.F. would be prepared to undertake air survey work, either in this country or in the Colonial Empire, he has given; and whether the Director-General of Aviation was consulted in the matter and his approval given;
(2) to what extent the policy of his Department, expressed to the Davidson Committee in 1936, that the resources of civil air survey firms, if properly organised, should meet the demands of the Ordnance Survey Department and that the supply of air photographs, for what are primarily regarded as commercial purposes, falls naturally within the field of civil aviation, has been modified.
I recently caused a review to be undertaken of the way in which the air photography needed for surveys in this country and the Colonial Empire could best be provided after the war. The Royal Air Force has specialised equipment, and work of this kind would afford valuable training. It is, therefore, my view that the task should be allocated to the Royal Air Force. My Noble Friend the Minister for Civil Aviation is in complete accord.
There were no civil firms engaged very much before the war. This is now going to be undertaken on a big scale by the Royal Air Force as part of its ordinary training duty, and the country will have the double advantage of the training which this will afford, and it will have the work admirably carried out.
Will the right hon. Gentleman look into it again? He seems to be quite misinformed. Is it not a fact that much of the R.A.F. equipment for air survey arose from the stimulant given by these civil firms?
If the hon. Gentleman has any suggestions to make about this, I will gladly receive them from him, but I hope he will also consider the argument that I shall put forward.
Will the right hon. Gentleman receive directors of the companies running this work before the war? They will assure him that they did considerable and very valuable work in this service.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the purpose is to get this work done in the most efficient and economical way, and not spread it all over the place for the sake of private interests?