Aircraft Noise (Gatwick)

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 11th June 2015.

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Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Conservative, Tonbridge and Malling 9:30 am, 11th June 2015

What steps his Department is taking to reduce aircraft noise near Gatwick airport and its effect on communities living under the flight path.

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Secretary of State for Transport

The Government recognise that noise is the primary concern of local communities near airports. Aircraft noise has reduced significantly over the last few decades and the Government remain committed to working with Gatwick airport, the Civil Aviation Authority, NATS, UK airlines and the Gatwick consultative committee, which includes community representatives, to reduce and mitigate aircraft noise.

Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Conservative, Tonbridge and Malling

I welcome the comments of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, but add that my constituents are still suffering from the current airspace strategy. Will he confirm that environmental mitigation will continue to be part of the consideration in the implementation of airspace strategy?

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Secretary of State for Transport

In welcoming my hon. Friend to the House, I assure him that mitigating the aviation industry’s effect on the environment has been and remains a key factor of aviation strategy. We need to strike a fair balance in our policy between the negative environmental impacts of aviation and the positive economic and consumer benefits that the industry provides.

Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Labour, Slough

When does the Secretary of State expect to receive the Davies report on south-east airports, and how soon thereafter does he intend to make a decision on the future of airports in the south-east?

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Secretary of State for Transport

I expect to receive the Davies report shortly. I will not anticipate at this stage when a decision will be taken. When the report is received, I will make a statement to the House.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Conservative, Reigate

Will the Secretary of State confirm that those Cabinet Ministers who have a constituency interest in either of the airports will not be part of the Government’s consideration of the Airports Commission’s work?

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Secretary of State for Transport

I can assure my hon. Friend that the Government will act in a proper and open way in informing the House of the decisions they take once they have received the report.

Photo of Danny Kinahan Danny Kinahan UUP, South Antrim

If Gatwick were to be given approval for an additional runway, what would the Minister’s intentions be if either the airlines or the airport authorities decided to remove direct flights between Heathrow and major regional airports such as Belfast, which are the absolute lifeblood of my constituency?

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin The Secretary of State for Transport

Until I have received the report I am not going to start discussing what may or may not happen. What I will say is that I know how important connectivity between airports is to both Northern Ireland and Scotland. Those slots are incredibly important. I will bear that in mind, as I know Sir Howard Davies will, once we have the report.