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Mr. Brazier : The arrangement would not involve many people. The essential problem is that there are four or five different players in the field, of whom the CAA is one. We need an office that is deliberately kept small, through the filter that only MPs can pass on complaints to keep the work load down, and which could look across the work of all those bodies. That would be the aim, but I thank the hon. Gentleman for his supportive comments earlier.
Tom Brake: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. He, like me, will know that small departments have a tendency to grow, so he would want to monitor that if his proposal turned into something concrete.
Lembit Öpik : Does my hon. Friend agree that, as he has inferred, the CAA is the right organisation to do that? Is he aware that, by and large, when push comes to shove, for example in an air proximity incident, not only the CAA but the pilots involved tend to co-operate? I am a bit surprised that Members had such great difficulty in securing that type of information from what I have found a fairly effective system.
I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. The point that he and I are making, and indeed the point that the Conservative Opposition may be making, is that the information needs to be in the public domain and readily available. If that can be done through the commercial flights officer that may be the
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appropriate route but if it can be achieved through an alternative route, such as the CAA, that may be a suitable response.
I am sympathetic to the points that have been made about new clause 6, but more detail is required in the provision to make clear precisely what is being proposed on insulation for buildings. It includes the interesting phrase that the Secretary of State or the responsible authorities should
While I understand the reasons for including that phrase, over what time scale would the provision operate? Over what time scale would the Secretary of State and the responsible authorities need to plan for an increase in noise? The new clause refers to buildings, but is not as specific as it might be in terms of the buildings to which it should apply.
That is an extremely important point. We need to publish figures on the amount of noise and pollution. We must then set targets and monitor them to ensure that they are met in future years, so that the users of a particular airport have a clear signal about where that airport is going.
We shall certainly support several amendments in the group. There are some interesting proposals that need further work and there may be an opportunity in another place for the detail to be fleshed out. However, if there is a vote on amendment No. 1, we shall certainly support the Conservatives in the Division Lobby.
Graham Stringer : I had not intended to speak on the Bill once I saw that the amendments dealing with support for stranded air travellers had not been pursued, but the representations that I have heard from Opposition Members and one or two contributions from Labour Members bear no relationship whatever to the debates and discussions that we had in Committee. From the comments that have been made today, I simply do not recognise the Bill that we went through line by line in Committee.
I should like to deal with some of those points, but first I want to take up a point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell), whom I certainly would not accuse of being a luddite. He is right to say that there must be a balance between the economy and the environment, but he is in error about the facts when he says that we need Government intervention and not for the aviation industry to get its own way. There are two points to make on that. First, the aviation industry and the Government were one and the same creaturethey were indivisibleuntil about 16 years ago, when BA, BAA and some airports were privatised.
Secondly, my hon. Friend makes the point that there has been a policy of predict and provide. I do not mean this in a pejorative way at all, but the only hon.
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Members that I have previously heard claim that the Government have a predict and provide policy have been from the Liberal Democrat party. Quite clearly, there has not been a predict and provide policy in aviation. Had there been such a policy, there would be much more capacity in both the south-east and the rest of the country. Part of the aviation industry has been restrained in its growth, and the Government have made it clear in the White Paper that such things are down to commercial decisions, not to any predict and provide approach by them.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth : I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way, particularly as I have just returned to the Chamber and missed his opening remarks. As a matter of fact, the Environmental Audit Committee has produced more than one report accusing the Government of taking a predict and provide approach towards aviation. Of course, that Committee has a Labour majority.
Graham Stringer: I recognise that that Committee has produced those reports. I have made comments in the Chamber about them, and as my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington suggests in talking about predict and provide, they are in error in their analysis of the aviation industry's history.
I shall finish talking about my hon. Friend's contribution by agreeing with him that promises have been made but not kept in the aviation industry. That has been a real mistake. Sometimes the promises have been made the wrong way and been kept, and that must be recognised. The whole country would have benefited if there had been no agreement, whenever it was made, to stop a second runway being built at Gatwick until 2017. So some damaging agreements have been made and kept. I recognise that, at each phase in the development of Heathrow, people have said, "No more", but they were mistaken in doing so, partly because the real economic balance, not just for the people who live around the airport but for the whole United Kingdom, is to maintain Heathrow as one of the premier airports in the world. Restricting it in the way that it has been restricted is causing it to lose that position in the world economy day by day.
John McDonnell: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for agreeing with my analysis of Heathrow's history so far, but I want to give another example of why, even today, there is yet again a sense of betrayal in my community: BAA did not argue at the terminal 5 inquiry for a third runway, but when it promoted a third runway, it informed us after the event that it is after a sixth terminal. At what stage do we say that those people can never tell the truth?
It has been a mistake to believe that we could stay at the forefront of the aviation industry and say that Heathrow did not need a third runway. I have always been very clear about that. I agreed with my hon. Friend's analysis previously. My understanding of BAA's position is that it has left it up to the Government to say where the extra runways should go. I am getting off the pointI shall get back on
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to itbut that is an argument for breaking up BAA, and I know that you will not let me go down that path, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
Alan Keen: Does my hon. Friend agree that the continual expansion of Heathrow is a short-term measure and bad planning and bad management, and that it would be much better if the industry realised that it is impossible to keep on expanding Heathrow, given the great environmental damage involved and the "polluter pays" principle, which is being extended throughout the world? Would it not be better for the airline industry to realise that a new airport is needed?
Graham Stringer: I really must move on, because I want to talk about amendment No. 1 and new clause 4. I listened very carefully to the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Duncan) and the right hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Redwood), and I was astonished because they both have a reputation for supporting free markets and deregulation, but they were arguing in new clause 4 for the creation of an extra regulatory body and stricter regulation of air traffic movements. Neither of them defined whether the problem was increasing or decreasingnot once.
The hon. Gentleman said that the problem is worse and that there is increasing concern, but the reality of the past 20 or 30 years is that the problem with noise is decreasing. It is extraordinary to ask for extra regulation on a decreasing problemI can think of no precedent for the Conservative party adopting such a position. In support of amendment No. 1, hon. Members said that a large number of quieter aeroplanes going over a house is worse than one noisy aeroplane going over. If anyone who has ever lived under a flight path compared a BAC-111 or a DC9 with a current Boeing 777, they would want 50 Boeing 777s going over in the morning rather than one DC9, because DC9s are so much noisier. That is a matter of common experience and fact.
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