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Viscount Goschen: I thank the Minister for his helpful and warmly received reassurances. However, the point that I was driving at is very much the same one as was made by the Minister. It is simply that his point is not reflected in the drafting of the Bill. With my amendment, it would be. Clause 70(1)(b) states,

Therefore, it is the class of aircraft that is being used as the distinguishing factor, and, indeed, it is a valid distinguishing factor. However, if one goes to the trouble of saying "all classes of aircraft", then another distinguishing factor is "all classes of user" because the users vary in class as much as do the aircraft. Therefore, given that the Minister has in effect conceded the point (I believe appropriately), I wonder whether he will again discuss with his officials whether the drafting that I have suggested, or something like it, which makes reference not only to the class of aircraft but to the class of user, makes sense and amplifies the point that he himself was trying to make.

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: I shall certainly reflect on what has been said. In response to questions raised regarding the enforcement of powers of the Director of Airspace Policy, we have discussed that issue with the CAA. Indeed, we recognise that under the new regime it is a crucial area of the DAP's role. However, we do not see a need to make additional powers in primary legislation.

We believe that the provisions of the Bill, together with the powers provided by Section 60 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982, which enabled provision to be made generally for regulating air navigation in an air navigation order, are adequate tools to secure the DAP's role. Indeed, at present the CAA is considering what amendments it requires to the ANO, and we expect it to consult shortly on its proposals.

The noble Lord, Lord Brabazon, raised the question of enforcement of the DAP's powers. As I said, it is an issue which has been under discussion. There are crucial areas in that regard that are of course relevant in the new regime. However, I believe that the provisions of the Bill, together with the powers already provided for by Section 60, should provide the necessary provisions for general regulation of air navigation through air navigation orders. We believe that those tools are adequate to secure the DAP's role; indeed, as I said, the CAA is at present looking at

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amendments that might be necessary. Therefore, I hope that that satisfies the noble Lord's concern and that he will withdraw the amendment.

Viscount Goschen: I apologise to the Committee. Before my noble friend Lord Trefgarne tells the Committee what he intends to do with his amendment, I should be grateful if the Minister could explain how that would work in practice.

I listened with great interest to the description that he gave to the Committee of the dialogue between the Civil Aviation Authority and his department on this issue. I welcome the fact that that has taken place. It seems a sensible way forward and is a recognition of a potential problem. However, if the Bill is enacted in the form in which your Lordships currently find it and a licensee is given a piece of airspace to administer--perhaps a Class D piece of airspace--and the licensee refuses to administer it in the appropriate manner in accordance with its classification, can the noble Lord explain how amendments to the ANO would take effect? Would the CAA be given the teeth that it really requires?

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: We believe that the teeth are already in the legislation which we shall provide. I believe that it is entirely understandable that Members of the Committee wish to know how enforcement of those functions fit together. However, with regard to Clause 8 duties and licence conditions, Clauses 20 to 25 make provision for the enforcement by the CAA of the licence holder's statutory duties under the Bill and the conditions of the licence. We also believe that those clauses will provide for the CAA to make orders which will be binding on the licence holder, not only in this case where there might be a contravention, as has been suggested, but in other circumstances, too.

The kind of licence provisions which may be of particular interest to the noble Viscount, Lord Goschen, might include a general obligation on the licensee to provide services in a way which does not duly discriminate against or give preferential treatment to any class of user. We intend that there shall be no undue discrimination. Where measures are necessary in order to make the optimum use of airspace to maintain the most expeditious flow of air traffic as a whole, the CAA will decide what is and what is not appropriate. An obligation on the licence holder to obtain the CAA's consent is also important in a number of areas. We shall insert a requirement for NATS to notify the CAA before it takes any action, for example, with regard to disposal of navigational assets. I hope that some of those licence provisions are relevant to the issues that the noble Viscount had in mind.

Lord Trefgarne: Before I withdraw my amendment, which I am minded to do, I hope that the Minister will not mind if I press him a little more on the example that I gave. It was meant to be only an example, but I fear that it is a glaring example of a failure of the present system. I apologise for having to put this in plain

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terms, but the service provided by controllers to general aviation in the area of Stansted is below an acceptable standard, unlike the service provided around Heathrow and Gatwick. If the Minister will undertake to look into that and write to me, I shall be happy to withdraw my amendment.

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The CAA and director of airspace policy have been considering further particulars about access for general aviation to the Stansted airport control zone. I shall certainly consider it too, because it has been raised with my officials as part of our dialogue on how airspace policy decisions can best be enforced. It is a good example and we shall consider it carefully--all the more so in the light of what the noble Viscount, Lord Goschen, has said. As I have said, the airspace policy will continue to be applied even-handedly and with sufficient vigour to protect the interests of all users in the Stansted control zone and elsewhere. To amplify my reply to the noble Viscount, Lord Goschen, we have the powers of direction in the air navigation orders to enable the CAA to instruct the licence holders or other providers to do what is necessary to maintain services for all types of fliers.

Lord Trefgarne: The Minister says that consideration has been given to that problem. If he will undertake to write to me at the outcome of that consideration, I shall be happy to withdraw my amendment.

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: With pleasure.

Lord Trefgarne: I am most grateful. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 3 not moved.]

4.15 p.m.

Lord Brabazon of Tara moved Amendment No. 4:

    Page 1, line 17, at end insert--

("( ) to prevent or minimise noise, vibration, pollution (including light pollution), disturbance or environmental damage of any nature;").

The noble Lord said: With the leave of the House, I shall also speak to Amendments Nos. 61 to 65.

The amendments are about environmental damage. Clause 1 obliges the Secretary of State to exercise his functions under Chapter I in the manner best calculated to promote the purposes set out in subsection (1). Those purposes do not include the protection of those affected by the adverse environmental consequences of air traffic. The amendment would add to those purposes the prevention or minimisation of noise, vibration, pollution, disturbance and environmental damage.

People who live near airports and under the flight path of aircraft can be as affected by the operation of air traffic services as those who fly. Their interests should not be ignored; neither should the damage done to the environment by, for example, pollution, even if

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no specific group of people is affected. That is partly recognised in Clause 39, which gives the Secretary of State powers to give directions on such environmental matters. But, as the Bill stands, he could not exercise that power if it were to conflict in any way with the duties set out in Clause 1. That will limit unnecessarily the Secretary of State's ability to act on environmental matters. The duties set out in Clause 1(1) should include the consideration of such environmental issues to ensure that they can be given proper weight.

The other amendments in the group are to Clause 39, which enables the Secretary of State to give directions relating to the environment. The amendments would make such directions subject to approval by Parliament. We welcome the addition of those powers, which are a recognition of the importance of ensuring that damage to the environment is minimised. However, they are very wide ranging and the best way to exercise them may be a matter of dispute or controversy. Parliament as a whole should have an input on issues of such importance.

Clause 39(7) provides that the Secretary of State needs to consult beforehand only if the direction affects a particular licence holder or authorised person and not if it affects them all. The amendments would require consultation when a direction affected all licence holders. It seems slightly bizarre to consult one licence holder or authorised person and the CAA when only one is affected but not to consult all licence holders or authorised persons when all are affected. The direction is likely to be more wide ranging and important and have more far-reaching effects if it affects all licence holders or authorised persons and is therefore more rather than less deserving of prior consultation. The Government should bring forward proposals to consult more widely in those circumstances than just licence holders or authorised persons and the CAA. I beg to move.

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