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Mr. Deputy Speaker : Order. I remind the House that the debate is not about railways.

Mr. Dalyell : Others wish to speak, so I shall send this table to the Minister. I should welcome a comment on it. The direct answer is that those are percentages of total state assistance. The grant paid under EEC regulations 1191/69 comes in a different set of figures. I should like some answers to the figures, in writing.

9.17 pm

Mr. Peter Fry (Wellingborough) : Some of the contributions made tonight have summed up some of the problems facing civil aviation. Far too many decisions are dictated by interests other than that of the future of British civil aviation. We have had some internecine strife between Labour Members over Scotland. One suspects that that has little to do with what is the best answer for civil aviation in Scotland.

I have the greatest respect for my right hon. Friend the Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins). I understand his feelings, and they might be mine if my constituency were his, but many of the proposals about Gatwick are based on considerations other than the future of aviation. Those of us who supported the Chairman of the Select Committee

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genuinely tried to look at those interests rather than at the partisan interests. We leave it to others to put their gloss on the proposals.

Hon. Members have referred to extra runways in the south-east. We are proud that we have the first and second international airport, in terms of international movements, in Heathrow and Gatwick. We also have a national airline of which we should be very proud. However, the problem remains that if we cannot continue to allow that airline the use of an airport that will enable it to increase the number of flights, and if we try to run the first and second international airports in the world with only three runways each, that policy is doomed to failure. There are many airports in the United States with three or four runways that cater for far fewer passengers than we do and operate fewer movements than we do.

In our report we were not trying to upset the constituents of my right hon. Friend the Member for Worthing or trying to undermine the value of property around Gatwick. We merely said that it did not make a lot of sense for the second biggest international airport in the world to try to operate off one runway. If my right hon. Friend considers the evidence we took from witnesses, he will discover that on several occasions Committee members asked witnesses what they thought about the future of Gatwick, and invariably they answered that it should have a second runway.

The report is not just about runway capacity ; the main consideration is the state of air traffic control and its future. Despite what my hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. McCrindle) said, we had no evidence to suggest that the Government had denied investment to the CAA. What was admitted, of course, was that the CAA was not good at managing what money it had been given. That is the key to it. Governments, quite rightly, are suspicious of giving too much money to those who do not spend it wisely. It is no good wringing one's hands and saying that we should have done this or that in the past, as the CAA has admitted that it had not done enough or was doing enough to prepare for the future.

We must admit that the explosion in travel that we have witnessed in the past few years was not foreseen by many people, least of all the airlines, which only a few years ago bemoaned the fact that the number of passengers was decreasing. When we visited Copenhagen, the head of air traffic control told us emphatically that he and his colleagues had not foreseen the enormous increase in the number of flights and in the number of people who wanted to fly that had occurred in a short time.

Under Mr. Tugendhat the CAA has now addressed itself, albeit late, to the problem. The Government have also suggested that they are willing to see that the CAA invests properly in the future. It will not be until 1994-95 that we have a level of air traffic control that will be able to cope even with current demand. Even then that provision will give us only some 30 per cent. extra capacity. My main argument in support of the Committee's report is that 1994-95 will answer today's problems. I agree with the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody), however, that by then we shall be faced with even greater problems, with a futher increase in demand. Therefore, we must think now about the investment and systems that will increase enormously capacity into the next century. We were lucky enough to visit the Royal Aeronautical Establishment at Bedford and there we were told about a

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fourth dimensional system of air traffic control. We were also told, however, that much more research was needed and that it might take up to 15 years before that research became operative.

It is absolutely essential that we ensure that the research undertaken in this country is pushed ahead as far as possible, otherwise I suspect that the kind of problems that we have had with congestion in the air and congestion on the ground will be subjects to which the House will return again and again in the next 15 years. I agree with those who have mentioned the problems of morale and staffing in air traffic control. I am convinced that, at long last, the CAA has addressed itself to what was becoming a serious issue. Those of us who talked to air traffic controllers became convinced that they were unsure of their future, unhappy about the way in which management related to them and extremely unhappy about their pay structure. The response in the report and the response of the present chairman of the CAA start to address those problems. I admit that, with the best will in the world, it will be impossible in the immediate future to recruit the number of air traffic controllers necessary to meet the anticipated demand.

The Committee says that we are on the right path, but mistakes have been made for which we shall pay dearly. Put in the widest context of moving people and transport generally, we have come to realise that, as the people of this country, Europe and the world become more affluent, they want to travel more and more. It is the Government's responsibility to ensure that they can travel as they wish, safely and without undue delay. It is an enormous challenge, not merely to the CAA, traffic controllers and airlines, but to the Government. 9.25 pm

Mr. Peter Snape (West Bromwich, East) : I am sorry that we have been prevented from hearing the contributions of two hon. Members who are still waiting to speak. One of the most annoying aspects of debates in this House is how often people sit patiently without being allowed to contribute. I join other hon. Members from both sides of the House in congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Shettleston (Mr. Marshall) and the Committee on their report, the merits of which can be measured by the fact that the Government's response has been reasonable and detailed. That is not always so when such reports are published. I do not say that the Opposition agree with all the Government's responses, but, unusually, the Government have shown some signs of forethought and many of the Committee's eminently sensible suggestions have elicited reasonable responses from the Department of Transport.

The debate can be broken down into three main sections. We have heard much about the problems of air traffic control. There has been unanimity among Committee Members, and hon. Members in this debate, that the problems of congestion in the air are long standing and are unlikely to be resolved in the near future. Great hope has been put on Eurocontrol for the future. It is worthwhile for all countries, including our own, to give up some sovereignty of their own air space for the common good.

Eurocontrol has been around for almost 30 years. Although Government Ministers these days make optimistic noises and projections for the future, it would

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have been possible to introduce what they are advocating at virtually any time over the past 30 years. The fact that we appear, belatedly, to be moving forward does nothing to alleviate the enormous congestion problems that we shall face over the next five, six or seven years.

There is some degree of unanimity on the attitude of the Civil Aviation Authority towards air traffic control problems. It was pointed out from both sides of the House that, as recently as two years ago, the authority talked about redundancy and early retirement for air traffic controllers. Belatedly--again, this is welcomed by both sides of the House--the authority has embarked on a detailed recruitment campaign to combat shortages and the overwork from which many air traffic controllers suffer.

Earlier, my hon. Friend the Member for Shettleston referred to safety. He said that there was no concrete evidence to show that safety was at risk. I think that both sides of the House would welcome that. We are all concerned about air safety. For understandable reasons, newspapers pass through phases in which certain issues appear to be topical. Last year, they entered a phase in which air misses or, as my hon. Friend described them, near hits, were thought topical and newsworthy. Thankfully and mercifully, despite the enormous increase in air traffic over the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe, there has never been a collision involving a civil airliner over this country. It is enormously to the credit of those responsible for these matters that travel by air is as safe as it is.

My hon. Friend the Member for Shettleston said that the Secretary of State had reacted reasonably to the report and that the problems were not all his fault because he had inherited them. That is entirely appropriate : the right hon. Gentleman inherited everything else, including his seat, so why not a few problems too? We welcome his fairness in dealing with some of them.

The former British Airports Authority came in for some stick in the debate. BAA plc has few friends these days and probably does not deserve many. I notice that this morning's Daily Mail, under the heading

"Keep your eyes on the runway, BAA",

pans the BAA once again for its obsession with profit making--some might say profiteering--from some aspects of airport management. Yesterday's Observer carried a full article headed :

"The airport authorities regret the late departure of your flight, but will be more than delighted to overcharge you for car parking and duty-free goods, whisky, cigarettes, perfumes ".

That may sound a bit strong, but it is a view shared by many people.

Many of us believe that the BAA should never have been privatised in the first place, a belief that has been underlined by the sort of complaints--

Mr. Mans : Does the hon. Gentleman agree that all the activities in which the BAA is now involved and about which he complains were carried on before privatisation? They were profitable then and they are profitable now, and there is no evidence to suggest that they affect BAA's role as a provider of airports in any way.

Mr. Snape : I dispute that. Those responsible for running bus and coach services to and from airports

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owned by BAA plc might well take a view different from the sanguine one advanced by the hon. Gentleman. Privatisation has enabled Sir Norman Payne and his chief executive to do wonders for their salaries and to exploit the captive market of passengers and those who operate airport services.

I was interested to hear the hon. Member for Romsey and Waterside (Mr. Colvin) say that if price restraint on take-off and landing charges and the various other airside charges were eased BAA might not need to fleece the franchisee as it does now. That shows a touching faith in Sir Norman Payne, for which he would be grateful, but I do not share it. Releasing BAA from those contraints would merely enable it to exploit the captive market in the air that it now exploits fairly well on the ground. Any attempt to relax the restriction will, I hope, be opposed by the Minister.

Airport security is also a serious matter. The Minister will know of the degree of public worry about it. I understand from newspaper reports that the United States authorities have developed a machine capable of detecting Semtex in luggage and in the containers placed in aircraft holds. If the Federal Aviation Authority decides to make the use of such machines compulsory, I presume that some of the 40 or so machines that are or order will be installed in Europe. I understand that American airlines intend to install these machines in Paris, Frankfurt and London. What are the Government doing to ensure that passengers on British or other airlines have their luggage screened by these machines? I understand that if the Federal Aviation Authority so rules screening will be carried out only on the luggage owned by passengers on American airlines. That is because the machines will be owned by the American airlines or the United States Government--I know not which. That worries many hon. Members and perhaps the Minister can tell us where we stand on the installation of similar machines and whether passengers on British or foreign airlines using international airports will have their luggage similarly screened.

The hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. McCrindle) was critical about some aspects of the charter airline business and I take issue with him on some points. He should bear in mind that for millions of people their one flight per year is by a charter airline to the sun. The suggestion that delays can be laid at the door of the three-round-trips syndrome so beloved of charter airlines is unfair. Britannia Airways supplies many hon. Members, including me, with a parliamentary briefing on air traffic control delays. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman received a copy. Obviously Britannia Airways has its own axe to grind and one reads such briefings with one's tongue fixed firmly in one's cheek. The briefing says : "Taking a typical Saturday last summer, 23 July 1988, analysis of Britannia's operational records reveals the following data and causes for delays. Total number of flights : 202. Total delays over one hour : 107. Total delays by ATC problems : 104."

It lists the reasons for delays to its other three aircraft, and none of them was due to the three-round-trips syndrome about which the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar complains. The hon. Gentleman knows a great deal about aviation and the travel business generally. I see from the the declaration of Members' interests that he is a director of Hogg Robinson (Travel) Ltd. where I am sure his expertise is welcome. It takes enormous courage for anyone who works in the travel agency business and who

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presumably benefits from cheaper travel as a result to advocate massive increases for millions of other people. It is a bit foolhardy but, as I say, it demonstrates enormous courage on the part of the hon. Gentleman and I congratulate him on it.

Some Conservative Members made the ritual plea for liberalisation. I hope that in that context we can talk about the additional air traffic control problems that such moves are likely to create for flights originating and terminating in Europe as well as for flights further afield. The problems that liberalisation are likely to bring include an increase in the number of smaller aircraft which, of course, still have to pass through an air traffic control system. I hope that at some time in the future--we shall not have time tonight--we can debate the additional problems that such liberalisation might mean for air traffic control.

I should like to ask about the liberalisation of services worldwide. All too often the Government seem to act as agents for British Airways. I realise that British Airways plays an important role in the British economy, but it is a privatised company and welcomes, as it puts it, the embraces of worldwide competition. For example, there has been pressure and protracted negotiations about increasing capacity on the routes to Singapore which have remained unchanged since 1976. Not a great deal of progress appears to have been made. British Airways objects to an increase in the number of flights by other airlines from Heathrow. If British Airways is to compete in a worldwide market, the competition should include more flights by foreign-owned airlines from Heathrow.

The debate, of necessity, has been somewhat truncated. I join the right hon. Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins) in deploring the Government's habit of making a statement in prime time, which diverts the attention of the media from important debates such as this and reduces the time that can be spent upon these important matters. The Government are quite good at that, but the practice is to be deplored.

Once again I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Shettleston and the Committee on a detailed, cogently argued and well-produced report. It deserves the Government's serious response. I hope that many of its recommendations will be implemented.

9.40 pm

The Minister for Roads and Traffic (Mr. Peter Bottomley) : We expect and demand air traffic services to meet a very high standard of safety. The primary function of air traffic control is to prevent collisions and keep aircraft apart. The Committee, as its Chairman, the hon. Member for Glasgow, Shettleston (Mr. Marshall), said at the beginning of his very important speech, found that National Air Traffic Services has an admirable safety record. The evidence shows that the number of risk-bearing air misses or near hits has declined substantially over the years, despite the massive growth of traffic in recent years. I join those hon. Members on both sides of the House who have paid tribute to the air traffic controllers and their assistants who have coped with the rapid growth of traffic while maintaining high professional standards.

To respond to a point made by the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), since 1987 the Civil Aviation Authority has moved away from a direct link with the Civil Service and towards a communications policy that is

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spelt out in the appendix to the Government's response to the Select Committee, with the result that morale is improving and the CAA's opportunity to deal with the unions in the interests of those who work in National Air Traffic Services has improved.

Mr. Dalyell : Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Bottomley : I do not intend to give way to the hon. Gentleman on that point because I wish to answer some of the other points that have been made in the debate. As he said at the end of his speech, we can follow up some of these points in correspondence.

I am sad that my hon. Friends the Members for Wyre (Mr. Mans) and for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson) were unable to make a speech in the debate. Both of them would have been able to contribute a great deal of expertise as they both take a great interest in the subject. However, that is one of the penalties of a relatively short debate. As for the family discussion among the Scots, if we had managed to sort out the previous Chairman of the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs and the present Chairman of the Select Committee on Transport through a return to the names that their constituencies bore before they were changed to Cunninghame, South and Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, we should have had time for speeches by my hon. Friends the Members for Wyre and for Ruislip-Northwood.

The Committee's report and the Government's response have been rightly praised--not that everyone will agree with every point in either the report or the response. Both the Government and the Civil Aviation Authority join the Committee in basing their views on the facts. Perhaps the greatest tribute that I can pay to the Select Committee is that it got at the facts and then introduced personal, local or national interests.

In response to the Committee's report, we made it clear that we broadly agree with its analysis of the problems facing the air traffic control system and that we accept the majority of the recommendations. We have yet to respond to a number of the recommendations because they require further study. We shall be able to go further when we have received formal advice from the CAA. We are giving careful consideration to the Committee's recommendations about the future status of the National Air Traffic Services. The possibility of splitting off the National Air Traffic Services from the Civil Aviation Authority should be examined. The Committee will not wish us to rush into a snap decision. Reviews are demanding in terms of management effort. National Air Traffic Services has a great deal on its plate at present.

We have also received a copy of the report prepared for Lord Rawlinson's group. We welcome that independent report as a contribution to the current debate on air space issues. We shall study it over the coming weeks, along with the advice of the CAA and the Select Committee.

While acknowledging that the record of air traffic control safety was "extremely good", the Select Committee rightly was anxious to ensure that the reporting and investigating machinery should be as comprehensive and objective as possible. It is worth reminding the House that if all the miles covered on roads were travelled in the air, instead of 5,000 people dying each year, the figure would be about 650. We are dramatically safer in the hands of the airline and air traffic control than we are on the roads. I was reminded by re-listening to "At

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the Drop of a Hat" by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann that the airline coach drivers have instructions to make sure that statistics are kept the right way round. To make the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) feel more at home, if all the miles travelled on the roads were travelled on the railways only 150 people would die each year, so I pay tribute to the railways too. The Committee recommended the creation of new, free-standing machinery which would be independent from the CAA. We have not been able to accept that in full. We acknowledge the need to develop the system of reporting, investigation and assessment of air misses to cover incidents reported by controllers as well as those reported by pilots. We believe that the new machinery set up by the chairman of the CAA to deal with controller-reported incidents will complement the highly-respected work which the joint airmiss working group does on pilot-reported air misses. One of the reasons why the media has gone off the over-reporting or hyped-up reporting of near hits is the openness of the system. There is no risk-free way of moving and if we can be open about risks we shall get more common sense and factual reporting rather than exaggeration.

The transfer of responsibility for investigating air misses from NATS to the CAA safety regulation group goes a long way towards meeting the Committee's concern that investigation should be independent and objective. We recognise the important part the Department has played in the work of the air accident investigation branch. That was demonstrated by the report on the air miss over Lydd last year.

The Committee's initial concern was with air traffic control safety and the adequacy of the air traffic control system to provide a safe service. I recognise that many other points have been raised in the debate. I cannot answer them all, so I shall answer some of them by correspondence. I want to ensure that the public expectation that the National Air Traffic Services will handle the traffic expeditiously and efficiently will be achieved with safety as the priority. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has made that point repeatedly and he would want me to repeat it tonight.

The system has not been able to keep pace with the rapid growth in traffic experienced in the past few years, mainly because of growth in the economy rather than deregulation or liberalisation. Severe delays were experienced last summer and may emerge again this summer. That is not only a United Kingdom problem. People quote Britannia Airways, but they are not talking about air traffic control in Britain alone. There is similar experience overseas. My hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. McCrindle) was absolutely right in suggesting that perhaps more airlines providing air services to charter companies should build in recovery time as the railways do. Those who expect to run their planes without anything going wrong are working on a false expectation. My hon. Friend's point was brave, sensible and right.

There is a problem with the drive towards further liberalisation if we get things moving wrong. Air traffic control authorities in Europe will find any excuse to cling to outdated restrictions on tariffs and market access. The immediate causes of air traffic control congestion are

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diverse, ranging from spasmodic industrial action in different parts of the continent to failures which occur from time to time in air traffic control computer systems. But the fundamental cause lies in the shortage of air traffic controllers. For substantial periods of the year the systems all work close to capacity. There is little slack to fall back on when things go wrong. A failure or shortcoming in one place quickly produces a knock-on effect across Europe. The Government, airlines, airport operators and the providers of air traffic control services have all been planning for years on the assumption that the demand for air transport will continue to rise, but even then there were long delays in airports last summer. It was known that there would be pressure on the system. Air traffic controller disputes in some countries are a sad fact of life in aviation today. Disruption on that scale had not been anticipated and we have all been forced to rethink our approach to the problem of congestion.

The responsibility for planning and operating air traffic services rests on the civil side with the CAA, with Ministry of Defence involvement on the military side. The point which has been made about military air space has been dealt with by the dangerous areas users' group, and perhaps we shall put out a bit more information on that. The possible gains may be mildly exaggerated when one looks into the facts, as I did. We heard about the increased number of trainee air traffic controllers and the bringing back into service of those who are training them ; that was a useful point on which the Committee built. Additional resources are available in the United Kingdom. Last summer's delays have brought home to everyone concerned the interdependence of European air traffic control authorities. I was grateful for the remarks by the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East on that point. Flights could not leave United Kingdom airports because of congested airways on routes to Europe. Flights from the continent to north America were delayed because of congestion in the United Kingdom's air space. Few countries in Europe could genuinely claim to be free from blame, and the problems grew as the summer wore on. The days are past when such problems can be tackled by one country alone. It has been widely recognised that we must improve co-operation and co-ordination between European countries. Last year, the United Kingdom held the presidency of Eurocontrol. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State decided that we must take the lead in strengthening the organisation and give it the chance to take necessary measures. Last July, my right hon. Friend wrote to all European Community Transport Ministers who had not joined Eurocontrol to persuade them to do so. We were pleased that Italy and Spain subsequently announced that they intended to join, and they are now in the process of doing so. From outside the Community, Turkey and Malta have recently joined and Cyprus is likely to become a member by the end of the year. That increased membership will strengthen Eurocontrol and help it to play the crucial role that we foresee for it.

In September, my right hon. Friend wrote to all west European Transport Ministers proposing the creation of a central flow management unit to co- ordinate flow throughout west Europe. That proposal was unanimously approved at a meeting of the European civil aviation conference in Frankfurt in October. Eurocontrol was given the job of building and operating the system. Last week, Eurocontrol Ministers approved the detailed

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implementation plan. The nucleus of the central flow management unit has been set up. We now look to Eurocontrol to implement the phased introduction of the system over the next four years. Many people are calling on us to go a stage further by adopting a unified system of air traffic control across Europe. A sudden transfer of all responsibility to a single European authority is not feasible, but the Government have not ruled it out as a long-term objective. The priority is to devise and implement practical measures that will improve co-operation and co-ordination between national systems. It would be counterproductive to divert the efforts and energies of those working in the sector away from these practical measures on to what might turn out to be an illusory ideal. One of the most important recommendations in the Select Committee's report was that more emphasis should be placed on Eurocontrol. In our presidency year, we helped to revitalise Eurocontrol, which, as the Committee said, has had a chequered history. The highly successful meeting of Eurocontrol's permanent commisson last week confirmed that Eurocontrol is rapidly assuming a major role. There is now widespread political backing for it throughout Europe, and it seems to be rising to the challenge.

My right hon. Friend's priority, on behalf of the nation, is to improve co- operation, acting through Eurocontrol. If that is successful, Europe's air traffic control systems will become more integrated and interdependent. Increasingly, decisions will be taken on a common basis. Our approach to Europe as a whole is to take practical steps, and, once they are agreed, to make them stick. Experimentation with grand designs is not an option when the safety of air transport is at stake.

We should try to build on practical safety measures. The hon. Member for Linlithgow, if I may have his attention for a moment, again raised the question of bottles, which are normally made of glass and contain liquid oxygen of 40 per cent. proof, dropping on to passengers' heads. It is ludicrous for people who may have spent between £200 and £1,000 on a journey to try to save £1 or £2 by carting a weight from one part of the world to another. It is just as ludicrous that they carry so much luggage. I am concerned about things falling out of lockers on to people's heads, but I am more concerned about a person with a 20 kg suitcase than one person with a bottle. I hope that more people will ensure that the bottles that they carry are made of plastic, and that includes their shampoo bottles. Obviously, there is some risk of carrying such stuff around, but it is pretty small. I have seen one tragic major air crash. I do not think bottles of booze made much difference to it. People should realise that international agreement would be needed for any significant change, because all air lines, not only British ones, must be controlled. The opportunity of more competition and the point about most terminals needing to be rebuilt will not go away. People should follow the example set by the hon. Member for Linlithgow and myself and not buy the stuff. There are better things to do with time and money--

Mr. Lambie : What about Scotch whisky exports?

Mr. Bottomley : Whenever possible, I do drink whisky.

Mr. Dalyell rose --

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Mr. Bottomley : I have dealt with two points made by the hon. Gentleman and I have not dealt with some points made by other hon. Members.

The friends of Prestwick--

Mr. Dalyell rose --

Mr. Bottomley : It would perhaps be less selfish of the hon. Member for Linlithgow if he were to let me deal with the points made by three of his hon. Friends.

The Government agree with the majority Scottish view that Prestwick should be the international gateway airport across the Atlantic. Several services available from Glasgow to European destinations have not been taken up. The Government negotiate the routes. It is up to the airlines to use them.

My hon. Friend the Member for Romsey and Waterside (Mr. Colvin) rightly said that much is happening. We want to ensure that the growth in movements is accompanied by increased safety. The hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) made a classic speech, starting with the Romans. She went on to talk about the importance of subsidies, but it is investment that is important. That answers another point made by the hon. Member for Linlithgow, if he is still listening. My right hon. Friend the Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins) pointed out that some of the Committee's conclusions would not have the wholehearted agreement of all involved. The Government's policy on Gatwick was made clear in our response to the report.

My hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Fry) talked about some of the issues involved in this form of transport. It is important to make sure that we continue to increase the safety of all forms of transport. I remind the House again that the number of people who tragically lose their life in air and rail crashes pales in comparison with the number killed on the roads. If we can make roads equally safe by paying attention to details, and if we can improve the road network in the same way as air traffic control systems have improved, we will be doing our job. We are not saying to people that they should not travel. More people want to travel and they should have the opportunity to do so safely. We must work in increasing co- operation with our fellow Europeans and others around the world.

I apologise to hon. Members who have not had the opportunity to speak and to those whose points I have not answered in detail. In view of the excellent report and the Government's response, which has generally been welcomed, it is right to allow the Chairman of the Select Committee to have the last word.


Mr. David Marshall : Unfortunately, this has been a short debate, but an important one. I congratulate hon. Members who have participated, and I commiserate with those who could not take part. I agree with the right hon. Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins) about the importance of estimates debates. I hope that the House will give serious consideration to increasing the frequency of such debates. That is important and would benefit, in particular, Back Benchers who often do not have the chance to debate the fruits of their labours in Select Committees.

The debate highlighted several matters of concern to hon. Members on both sides of the House. It is

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encouraging to see how much common ground there is between us on many aviation and transport issues. There is not such a great deal that separates us. Indeed, as the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Fry) said, it was amusing that the greatest disputes and divergences of opinion were between Members of the same parties on two different issues. Scottish Members disagreed on which airport should be Scotland's international gateway and Conservative Members from the south- east on whether there should be a second runway at Gatwick or anywhere else in the south-east.

My hon. Friends the Members for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody), for Cunninghame, South (Mr. Lambie) and for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) concentrated on the need for safety, for better man management and for improvements for staff, to make better use of regional airports and to look closely at the operations of the British Airports Authority plc and British Airways. They are all extremely important matters in debates such as this and vital to the future of civil aviation.

The hon. Members for Romsey and Waterside (Mr. Colvin), for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. McCrindle) and for Wellingborough and the right hon. Member for Worthing took on board the problems of 1992 and spoke about how Eurocontrol should develop in future, the problems of runway capacity in the south- east, punctuality in chartered airline scheduling, flight paths over major centres of population, night flights, the use of air space, especially military air space, near misses and the BAA.

My hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) summed up the debate from the Opposition Front Bench in his inimitable style and made a number of telling points.

I hope that the Secretary of State will consider anew the points that have been made in the debate. This is one of the few Transport Select Committee reports to be debated on the Floor of the House. With two reports to be published later this year--one, in two weeks, on airport security and the other, at the end of the year, on roads for the future--I am sure that this will not be the last such debate. The Minister tried his best to answer a number of the points made by hon. Members. I hope that he will keep his word and that he will enter into correspondence with hon. Members and let us have the answers to the points that were raised. I am sure that we will all be grateful to him for that.

It being Ten o'clock, Mr. Speaker-- proceeded, pursuant to paragraph (5) of Standing Order No. 52 (Consideration of estimates), to put forthwith the deferred Questions necessary to dispose of the proceedings on Estimates 1989-90, Class VI, Vote 3 and Class VIII, Vote 2.

Class VI, Vote 3

Question put,

That a further sum, not exceeding £24,044,000, be granted to Her Majesty out of the Consolidated Fund to defray the charges which will come in course of payment during the year ending on 31st March 1990 for expenditure by the Department of Energy on salaries and other administrative costs.

The House divided : Ayes 173, Noes 10.

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Division No. 287] [10.00 pm


Alexander, Richard

Alison, Rt Hon Michael

Allason, Rupert

Amess, David

Amos, Alan

Arbuthnot, James

Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)

Ashby, David

Atkins, Robert

Atkinson, David

Batiste, Spencer

Beaumont-Dark, Anthony

Bellingham, Henry

Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)

Bevan, David Gilroy

Boscawen, Hon Robert

Boswell, Tim

Bottomley, Peter

Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)

Bowis, John

Brazier, Julian

Bright, Graham

Brooke, Rt Hon Peter

Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)

Browne, John (Winchester)

Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)

Buck, Sir Antony

Burns, Simon

Burt, Alistair

Butcher, John

Butterfill, John

Carlisle, John, (Luton N)

Carrington, Matthew

Cash, William

Chapman, Sydney

Chope, Christopher

Churchill, Mr

Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)

Colvin, Michael

Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)

Coombs, Simon (Swindon)

Cormack, Patrick

Couchman, James

Cran, James

Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)

Davis, David (Boothferry)

Devlin, Tim

Dorrell, Stephen

Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James

Dover, Den

Dunn, Bob

Durant, Tony

Emery, Sir Peter

Evennett, David

Fenner, Dame Peggy

Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)

Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey

Forman, Nigel

Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)

Forth, Eric

Fox, Sir Marcus

French, Douglas

Fry, Peter

Gale, Roger

Gardiner, George

Garel-Jones, Tristan

Gill, Christopher

Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles

Gorman, Mrs Teresa

Gorst, John

Gow, Ian

Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')

Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)

Ground, Patrick

Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn

Hague, William

Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)

Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)

Hannam, John

Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)

Harris, David

Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney

Hayward, Robert

Heathcoat-Amory, David

Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael

Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)

Hill, James

Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)

Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)

Hunt, David (Wirral W)

Irvine, Michael

Jack, Michael

Janman, Tim

Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey

Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine

Key, Robert

King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)

Knapman, Roger

Knight, Greg (Derby North)

Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)

Knowles, Michael

Lawrence, Ivan

Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark

Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)

Lightbown, David

Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)

Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)

Lord, Michael

Lyell, Sir Nicholas

McCrindle, Robert

Maclean, David

McLoughlin, Patrick

McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael

Mans, Keith

Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin

Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick

Meyer, Sir Anthony

Miscampbell, Norman

Mitchell, Sir David

Morris, M (N'hampton S)

Moss, Malcolm

Newton, Rt Hon Tony

Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil

Pawsey, James

Porter, Barry (Wirral S)

Rhodes James, Robert

Riddick, Graham

Ridsdale, Sir Julian

Roe, Mrs Marion

Rowe, Andrew

Sackville, Hon Tom

Shaw, David (Dover)

Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)

Shelton, Sir William

Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)

Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)

Skeet, Sir Trevor

Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)

Speller, Tony

Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)

Stevens, Lewis

Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)

Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)

Stradling Thomas, Sir John

Summerson, Hugo

Taylor, Ian (Esher)

Taylor, John M (Solihull)

Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)

Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman

Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)

Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)

Thorne, Neil

Thurnham, Peter

Townend, John (Bridlington)

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