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Greenham Common Airfield (Noise)

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st July 1957.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Hurd Mr Anthony Hurd , Newbury 12:00 am, 31st July 1957

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he is aware of the hardship imposed day and night last week on the people of Newbury and the neighbourhood by the persistent low-flying of jet aircraft operating from Greenham Common airfield; why the noise and vibration have become worse than when this base was in operational use last year; and what action is being taken to mitigate the nuisance.

Mr. Ward:

The programme includes no more flying than took place last year, and the aircraft are of the same type. The U.S.A.F. authorities are doing all they can to reduce the disturbance to an absolute minimum.

Photo of Mr Anthony Hurd Mr Anthony Hurd , Newbury

Even though that be so, will my right hon. Friend remind visiting United States Air Force men that ever since his predecessor in office in 1950 agreed to the use of this airfield—only two miles from Newbury—by heavy jet bombers, repeated undertakings have been given to the people of Newbury that everything will be done to restrict, limit and check the amount of noise and nuisance caused? We do not want to have a repetition of the kind of hell that was let loose last week.

Mr. Ward:

I am in constant touch with the United States Air Force authorities on his problem and I am satisfied that they are doing all they can to minimise the noise, but this is a very important N.A.T.O. base. I am sure that anything else they can do they will do.

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Rowley Regis and Tipton

Can the Secretary of State say whether any progress has been made in the research work that is being carried on with a view to reducing the amount of noise caused by jet engines? Is close contact maintained with the United States authorities, who apparently have stated that they are making very great progress in that direction?

Mr. Ward:

Yes, research is going on to minimise noise on the ground and in the air. Progress is being made on the ground, but noise in the air is a much more difficult problem. Research is continuing.