Stansted Airport

Oral Answers to Questions — Board of Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1967.

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Photo of Mr Terence Boston Mr Terence Boston , Faversham 12:00 am, 22nd November 1967

asked the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has considered from the Greater London Council for a new inquiry into the proposal to site the third London airport at Stansted; and what reply he has given.

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I have received a resolution to this effect from the Greater London Council. The Government have, however, as already announced, confirmed the Stansted decision, while considering the possibility of realigning the runways to reduce disturbance from aircraft noise.

Photo of Mr Terence Boston Mr Terence Boston , Faversham

Will my right hon. Friend accept that a great many people will be very relieved by that reassuring news? Will he confirm that he will continue to resist any demands for further inquiries, because there have been quite sufficient into this matter already? Will he give any indication of when the development order is likely to be introduced?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I am also relieved by the first remark in my hon. Friend's supplementary question. As to the remainder of it, there will not be a public inquiry into this matter. As to the development order, I cannot give a date because that depends on when discussions with the local authorities are concluded.

Photo of Mr Frederick Corfield Mr Frederick Corfield , Gloucestershire South

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that, in the light of the inspector's report, by making this decision, he has utterly undermined public confidence in the whole of the inquiry system and has failed to carry with him either the public or expert opinion in the aviation world with regard to the right site?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

This decision has been examined and argued about for not merely months but a matter of years. I re-examined it when I went to the Board of Trade at the beginning of September and satisfied myself again that Stansted is the best site. If we were to reopen the matter now it would cause a very considerable risk of delay in our building the third London airport, with serious consequences to our economy and balance of payments.

Photo of Mr Anthony Royle Mr Anthony Royle , Richmond (Surrey)

In view of the decision to spend public money inquiring into the realignment of runways at Stansted, will the right hon. Gentleman also consider realignment of runways at Heathrow? This would relieve the nuisance of noise caused for many London residents?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

That is another question. As the hon. Member knows, I am concerned about the problem of noise at London Airport. On the realignment of the runway at Stansted, the Government have been willing to incur an additional cost which may rise to £10 million in order greatly to reduce the noise and the threat to amenity in the Stansted area.

Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans

Surely this saving of £10 million on the existing runway at Stansted was the one reason for using the Stansted site? That being so, surely the right hon. Gentleman is willing to look at the matter again?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

The hon. Member is wholly misinformed about this. It was never the sole reason for choosing Stansted, as was made perfectly clear in the White Paper and in public discussions on the matter. There were many other powerful reasons argued in the White Paper for choosing the Stansted site.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

On a point of order—

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. One point of order at a time. Mr. Biggs-Davison.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

On a point of order. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, deeply injurious to my constituents—

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. Notice must be given in the conventional way.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.