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Justine Greening: Surely, given the hon. Lady's words, it is vital that she support our amendments to provide the framework for resolving this ongoing debate. It is rather like a rugby team and a football team trying to play on the same pitchpeople are debating in totally different ways, and we require a common set of rules. That is what our amendments seek to do. I therefore hope that the hon. Lady will join us in supporting them, should there be a Division, so that we can, for once, have a common debate and reach some consensus.
Laura Moffatt: I thank the hon. Lady, but I do not support that view. I firmly believe that we should continue to pursue a downward pressure on the total noise from airports. Focusing just on noise events is not the future for aviation or for communities around airports. The rugby players and football players in my constituency are looking for reasonable measures to continue a good relationship with a major airport that has provided many jobs to the town for many years, so that we are able to live together in harmony. The proposals before us are reasonable and fair.
Let me explain something to the hon. Member for Crawley (Laura Moffatt) straight away. I fully accept that she is here to speak for her constituents, whether they work at Gatwick airport or are affected by it. I do the best for my constituents, even though the nearest airport to my constituency is between 25 and 50 miles away. Nottingham East Midlands airport is strangely named: it is wholly within Leicestershire, has a Derbyshire postcode, and is owned by 10 local authorities in Manchester. The Government are keen on stressing how important it is that decisions should be made locally, yet our local decisions are made in the Manchester Airports Group headquarters, and
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my constituents have no purchase on the decision-making systems of Manchester Airports Group and Nottingham East Midlands airport, any more than do the constituents of the hon. Member for North-West Leicestershire (David Taylor) or those of the hon. Member for South Derbyshire (Mr. Todd), whose constituencies are geographically much closer to the offending airport than mine.
I too would like to have a reasonable dialogue. However, I discovered last week at the Conservative party conference in BlackpoolI discovered quite a few things therethat, according to a county councillor from Derbyshire, the management of Nottingham East Midlands airport hold the view that I, the Member for Harborough, am what is called a pain in the posterior. I am not sure whether that is a sensible way to describe a Member of Parliament who is doing his job. It may be trueperhaps they have been looking at my posteriorbut it disturbed me that the level of dialogue by the airport management has reached the stage where they personally abuse Members of Parliament going about their constitutional duty.
Mr. Julian Brazier (Canterbury) (Con): My hon. and learned Friend is making a characteristically clear and important point. I urge him to join us when we debate new clause 7, because he has just summarised in a single sentence the problem with giving consultative committees to the local authority in which the airport is located.
The so-called independent consultative committee that is supposed to monitor the activities of Nottingham East Midlands airport is staffed by a chairman who is paid by the airport. That is fair enoughhe is entitled to his salarybut I am not sure how independent that makes either him or the consultative committee. Why it is called "consultative" I have no ideait has never consulted anybody in my constituency and draws its membership from a very local base.
David Taylor: Would the hon. and learned Gentleman be surprised to know that on several occasions the ICC has declined requests from me and, I believe, from my hon. Friend the Member for South Derbyshire, for an opportunity during at least one of its quarterly meetings for Members of Parliament to contribute and report back? On every occasion, that suggestion has been kicked into the long grass at the end of the runway.
Mr. Garnier: I can bring the hon. Gentleman good news. Perhaps because I am a pain in the posterior, Mr. Barry Wyman, the chairman of the independent consultative committee, has condescended to come to the House of Commons to meet me, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for South Derbyshire will join me.
Well, the hon. Gentleman will have another chanceI do not know whether to
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commiserate with him or congratulate him. In any event, the serious point is that Mr. Wyman is very graciously coming to the House of Commons, and I hope that we will have a fruitful and adult discussion. I certainly will not call him anything other than Mr. Wyman.
New clause 4 would provide an opportunity to signal our concern that these airports are unpoliced, unregulated and misbehaving. If they wish to act as useful economic engines within our regionsI support thatthey must behave like good neighbours. If airports were factories chucking out noxious fumes or firms that ran freight lorries through our villages all night, somebody would complain about it, but they, the Government and the Civil Aviation Authority say that it is all very modern and wonderful and they should be allowed to carry on unhindered. Simply because these trucks have wings and are in the sky, they think that we should not be bothered about it, but I am afraid that my constituents are. What bothers me even more is the spin that airports engage in to bamboozle the Government and the general public into thinking that they are doing a good thing. They are doing some good things, and if they stuck to the facts about them we might be a little more satisfied with what they are up to.
Let me read some gobbets from a press release issued by Nottingham East Midlands airport, headlined, "Opinion poll confirms support for airport". It has apparently got MORII make no complaint about that respected organisationto interview 1,562 people in the NEMA area. That constitutes 0.1 per cent. of the 1.5 million people who live in the east midlands, although that may not damage the scientific validity of its questioning. One paragraph states:
where my constituency is situated, 20 to 50 miles away from Nottingham East Midlands airport. It goes on to say, through Penny CoatesI have met her; she is a very nice woman who is co-operative and friendly and wishes to do her best for her airport and for the people affected by the noise, filth and fumes that are caused by its activitiesthat
"The results of this opinion poll demonstrate that there is much more support for NEMA than may be generally realised, particularly amongst those living closest to the Airport. Nevertheless, we are not complacent about the need for us to do more to minimise the impact of our operations and to improve our communications with surrounding communities. The views contained in the survey will prove very useful in shaping our future policies."
That is all very well. However, when, in that sad way of Members of Parliament, I was whizzing through some websites, I came across a press release issued by Birmingham international airport on 28 September 2001. Funnily enough, one of the findings of the MORI poll that Birmingham international airport had conducted in 2001 was:
"By far the most significant advantage associated with the Airport was found to be the convenience of having it nearby. Residents recognised the economic factors linked to the presence of the Airport, mentioning job creation, new business attracted by the Airport, and the boost to the local economy."
"The results of this opinion poll are extremely gratifying and are a validation of the continuing dialogue with our local community. The views contained in this survey will be useful in shaping our future policies."
I do not know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, whether you noticed any similarity between the wording of the October 2005 press release from Nottingham east midlands airport and that of the 2001 press release from Birmingham. The managing director continues:
I do not know whether the similarity is a coincidence or can be explained by the fact that the press officer for Birmingham is now the press officer for Nottingham. Perhaps it is simply an example of serendipity, with which we are occasionally blessed. However, there is huge cynicism
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