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Offshore Helicopter Safety — [Sir Henry Bellingham in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 6th February 2019.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North 2:30 pm, 6th February 2019

That is most certainly so. I bid for this debate because of the importance of this issue to people across the entire country who are involved in the industry.

In answer to my written question, the Minister went on to say:

“Through the Aviation Strategy, the Government will look at its role in supporting the commercial success of operators whilst balancing this against environmental and safety concerns.”

That is all very laudable, but it should be noted that the Government’s aviation strategy, like their maritime strategy, is for the next 30 years, yet the latest consultation document, which was published just in December, makes no mention whatever of offshore helicopter transport. Can the Minister explain that omission? If he cannot, offshore workers could be forgiven for thinking that their concerns are being brushed under the carpet.

The Transport Committee’s 2014 report found that the CAA review, which led to CAP 1145,

“did not consider the evidence that commercial pressure impacts on helicopter safety in sufficient depth.”

The Government must convene a full independent public inquiry to investigate commercial pressures on helicopter safety in the North sea operating environment. That inquiry must examine the role and effectiveness of the CAA.