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Helicopter Stations, London Area

Volume 645: debated on Monday 24 July 1961

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asked the Minister of Aviation if he is yet able to publish the Report of the Committee on the Planning of Helicopter Stations in the Landon Area; and if he will make a statement.

In its first Report, the Committee recommended three possible sites for the operation of regular services with large scale helicopters: Nine Elms Goods Yard, Cannon Street Station roof and St. Katharine Docks. Detailed technical and economic studies are continuing.

Meanwhile, as the Report contains much of public interest, I have decided to publish it, together with a Supplementary Report recently completed by the Committee on the possibility of operating helicopters from the roofs of high buildings. Copies will be available in the Vote Office today.

In thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that information, may I ask him to bear in mind that we had another Report, a very optimistic one, from the Inter-Departmental Committee on Helicopters, in 1951, and that we are still awaiting developments from then? Can the Minister now say that there is hope of getting a helicopter landing station in London itself? As he is aware, many provincial towns have for years earmarked sites and it is London that is holding things up.

We must never lose hope. I share the hon. Member's view that it is clear that helicopters will play a part in city to city travel in the future. I urge hon. Members to read this Report. As a preliminary to further discussion, it would be very useful.

Will the Minister keep in mind the noise question? It is of great importance and we are all anxious to see helicopters in city centres if possible, but not at the sacrifice of the peace of mind of the citizens

If the hon. Member reads the Report, he will see that the noise question figures prominently in it, both as to the contribution which can be made by the manufacturers and the operators, as well as the problems of where to site the heliport.