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Gatwick Airport

Volume 974: debated on Monday 19 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether, in view of the decision not to require airlines to move to Gatwick, he will be able to cancel plans for the new maintenance area.

The British Airports Authority's proposals for the development of Gatwick airport are to be examined at a public inquiry early next year. I cannot comment on their merit, but I can assure my hon. Friend that the Government will take their decision in the light of the inspector's report.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what regulations govern night flights from Gatwick; and in what manner these differ from the regulations in force at Heathrow, Luton, Stansted, Birmingham and Manchester airports.

Night flights at Gatwick and Heathrow are subject to quotas, and the noisier movements will be phased out by 1987. Quotas for the quieter flights are being allowed to increase at the same rate as those for the noisier movements are reduced, but this policy will be reviewed in the light of the results of the current research into the relationship between aircraft noise and sleep disturbance. Similar restrictions apply to the noisier night flights at Stansted, but there are no restrictions at present on the quieter flights.The responsibility for regulating night flights at Luton, Manchester, and Birmingham airports rests with the owners, but I understand that the restrictions at Luton are broadly comparable with those at Gatwick, as are those at Manchester during the summer, and that there are no night restrictions at Birmingham.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will arrange for future annual aircraft movements at Gatwick by aircraft of more than 12,500 lbs. MAUW to be limited to the total of such movements for the year ended 30 June.

No. Such an arrangement would effectively prejudge the British Airport Authority's proposal for a second terminal at Gatwick, which is to be examined at a public inquiry next year.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if his Department is bound by the provisions of the recent agreement entered into between West Sussex county council and the British Airports Authority under which no second runway is to be constructed at Gatwick for 40 years.

My Department is not a party to the agreement and therefore cannot be bound by it.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many flights from Gatwick airport in the year ended 30 June passed within one mile of the centre of Newdigate, Surrey; and what percentage of total take-offs from Gatwick was represented by such flights.

Information is not available in the form requested by my hon. Friend. Aircraft on the routes out of Gatwick likely to affect Newdigate account for about one-third of all departures from the airport in an average year. The nominal line of these routes passes within one mile of the centre of Newdigate, but in practice there is considerable dispersion of traffic either side of this line.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will install, at an early date, a noise measuring unit in, or close to, the village of Newdigate, Surrey.

My Department intends to commission further noise monitoring and studies of track keeping in the vicinity of Newdigate as soon as possible. The results of these studies will help us to assess the need for any changes in the present noise monitoring system at Gatwick.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will arrange for the standard instrument departure rules to be altered for aircraft departing from runway 26 at Gatwick, so as to ensure that such aircraft do not pass overhead, or within one mile of, the centre of Newdigate, Surrey.

No. I am not convinced that such a change would result in any net environmental benefit.

£ million cif
Note: The effects of industrial action have led to distortions in the pattern of trade recorded in the first eight months of 1979, and figures for individual months must be interpreted with particular caution. However, the sum of the individual months above agrees with the corrected cumulative figures for January-September (£105·9 million).
Source: United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics—SITC (Rev 2) Items 775.11, 21 and 22.