London Airport Area (Aircraft Height Checks)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Aviation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th August 1965.

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Photo of Sir Hugh Munro-Lucas-Tooth Sir Hugh Munro-Lucas-Tooth , Hendon South 12:00 am, 4th August 1965

asked the Minister of Aviation what height checks on aircraft approaching London Airport have been carried out by or under the instructions of his Department; whether such checks have extended to areas such as Hendon; and whether he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Roy Jenkins Mr Roy Jenkins , Birmingham Stechford

Aircraft on the last seven miles of their approach to Heathrow are subjected to random checks by precision approach radar. During the last three months less than 0·4 per cent. of the aircraft checked came below the 3 degree glide path.

When more than seven miles from Heathrow pilots are instructed to maintain a height of not less than 2,000 ft. The checks mentioned do not extend as far as Hendon but I am considering instituting wider checks in the near future.

Photo of Sir Hugh Munro-Lucas-Tooth Sir Hugh Munro-Lucas-Tooth , Hendon South

Will the Minister bear in mind that low-flying aircraft cause an intolerable nuisance in areas such as Hendon? Will he pursue his efforts in this direction with the utmost determination?

Photo of Mr Roy Jenkins Mr Roy Jenkins , Birmingham Stechford

Yes, indeed. I will bear this point in mind. I have instituted special discussions during the summer for I, and I think many other Members, have been worried about the degree of noise over central London, and I hope to make sure that the regulations are observed.

Photo of Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop , Tiverton

How many aircraft is 0·4 per cent.? The Minister told us that the figure was 0·4 per cent. without telling us the value of 100 per cent. Unless we are told the value of 100 per cent., his information is meaningless.

Photo of Mr Roy Jenkins Mr Roy Jenkins , Birmingham Stechford

I do not think that without notice I could give the total number of movements into London Airport over the period, but 0·4 per cent. is clearly one in 200 of the very substantial number of aircraft approaching London Airport.

Photo of Sir Rolf Williams Sir Rolf Williams , Exeter

Will the Minister look into this matter? For instance, will he look into the fact that two aeroplanes were flying over Westminster this morning at considerably less than 2,000 ft.? I think that this is becoming quite intolerable.

Photo of Mr Roy Jenkins Mr Roy Jenkins , Birmingham Stechford

I am giving very close attention to this matter. With the expertise of a layman, I have occasionally thought that planes were flying lower than they should have been at the entrance to the glide path. I have had this checked It occurs occasionally but only very infrequently.