Clause 2 - Regulation by Secretary of State of noise and vibration from aircraft

Civil Aviation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 5th July 2005.

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Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening Vice-Chair (Youth), Conservative Party 12:45 pm, 5th July 2005

I beg to move amendment No. 14, in clause 2, page 2, line 41, leave out subsection (2).

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Conservative, Macclesfield

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 35, in clause 2, page 2, line 43, at end insert

', and may also issue penalties on aircraft, otherwise legally permitted to take off or land, which exceed the maximum take-off noise limits, specified by the Secretary of State,'.

Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening Vice-Chair (Youth), Conservative Party

The amendment removes that part of clause 2 that would enable the Secretary of State to change the current regime, which is set out in section 78 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982. The current regime restricts night flights at the designated airports of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and the amendment would guarantee that the existing movements limit is retained as a control mechanism, whereas clause 2(2) proposes that the Secretary of State could remove that limit.

Photo of Adam Afriyie Adam Afriyie Conservative, Windsor

I am sorry to jump in so early, but I wanted to make a quick observation, and see whether my hon. Friend agrees. There is no need to remove the movements limit while introducing quota measures: it is possible to have both. Depending on what the targets are, one or the other will take effect.

Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening Vice-Chair (Youth), Conservative Party

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. At present, there are two mechanisms for controlling noise: one is to restrict the movements limit, which the Bill proposes to remove; the second is to restrict the total amount of estimated noise that people have to bear on the ground. That regime of mixed measurement works well, because it not only combats the concept of excessive noise, but addresses noise rumble, which is the kind of constant noise that disturbs people. My amendment would remove the power to remove the movements limit and would keep the existing mix of control.

The other issue that I have with that proposal is that it was not at all clear to me, when I tabled the amendment, what criteria the Secretary of State would use when planning to employ those powers. The power is to remove the movements limit, but the question that I have—I hope the Minister can answer it—is: under what circumstances would those powers be enacted? Given, particularly, that we are in the middle of a night flights consultation, which the Minister said in the Chamber last week would go on as planned until 2012, that gives us ample time to bring forward the type of data that we are currently missing on noise.

It being One o'clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned till this day at Four o'clock.