Clause 1 — Aerodrome charges: noise and emissions

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 1:00 pm on 12th October 2006.

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Photo of Gillian Merron Gillian Merron Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport 1:00 pm, 12th October 2006

I repeat that the matter is executively devolved to Scottish Ministers.

If Mr. Garnier looks through the rest of the Bill, he may find comfort about what "locality" and "vicinity" mean. New section 38B states that the noise control scheme extends by default to a radius of 40 km from the centre of the longest runway, and the scheme can be specified by the Secretary of State to a maximum of 60 km from the centre of the longest runway. I hope that that assists the hon. and learned Gentleman.

I have some information that may interest the constituents of my hon. Friend Mr. Todd. If somebody were to make substantive representations to the Secretary of State on airport charges, it would be considered and, as a matter of good practice, consulted upon. We would consider local interests before deciding whether to direct an airport over fixing its charge. We would keep the process and the criteria under review, and we would need to pay attention to local circumstances.

In summary, I remind hon. Members that airports have had the power to charge for aircraft by reference to their noise for some 25 years without any need for the Government to intervene, and many larger airports already do so. Clause 1 is important, because it extends that power to allow charges to be related to aircraft emissions that affect air quality.