Can the hon. Gentleman give the House any information about whether any useful results are beginning to flow from this money, which will be welcomed in view of the growing concern among all parties, including the airlines, about noise and its effects upon the civil population?
The new research facilities coming into operation now, which include an anechoic chamber at Farnborough and the new laboratory at Ansty, Coventry, for examining noise problems on large-scale compressors and intakes, are achieving some results. There is no real shortage of money, but there is a real shortage of ideas on this problem.
Can the hon. Gentleman tell us how that figure compares with previous years? Is it an increase in the money spent on research into these subjects in the year previous to 1965–66?
It is in accordance with the scale of the new facilities which I have mentioned. I repeat that there is no real shortage of money for this very serious problem.
I have mentioned the facilities for the theoretical research into the problem, but I make no secret of the fact that the problem is not yet beaten. There are various ideas, such as modifying the thrust nozzles of engines. However, this is a very complex matter to be answered by Question and Answer on the Floor of the House.
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the hon. Gentleman's reply, I give notice that I propose to raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.
One of the Concord design objectives has been that noise on takeoff and landing should not exceed that of the present large subsonic jet aircraft. Sonic bang is a different problem, to which we are giving constant attention, but it cannot be alleviated to any significant extent by changes in the design of the aircraft.
Is the Minister aware that there is a general belief that this is going to be a very noisy aircraft and that the supersonic boom will cause a great deal of trouble? Can he assure the House that really close attention is being given to it, because it could affect sales of the aircraft?
We are concerned to keep the noise of take-off and landing down to the minimum. The Concord will climb rapidly and cruise at a very high altitude, which will minimise noise in the ordinary sense in which complaints are received, and a noise attenuator is being developed by S.N.E.C.M.A., which, if successful, should make a significant reduction in noise up to 5 decibels.