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Third London Airport

Volume 974: debated on Monday 19 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to receive the reports from the advisory groups considering the question of the third London airport.

I expect to receive the reports very soon, and to announce the Government conclusions when we have completed our consideration of all the relevant advice and information.

Can I urge upon the Minister that if at all possible the Government's own position should be made clear simultaneously with the publication of the recommendations so as, hopefully, to eliminate some of the six sites from the planning blight to which they are at present subjected?

My hon. Friend makes an interesting suggestion. It is one to which we shall give due heed, together with all the others.

Is it correct to assume that the Government are not bound by the limitations of the reports that they receive and that they could decide upon an option that is not contained in the remit of the advisory committee?

Will my hon. Friend continue to bear in mind the conclusion of the Roskill Commission that, if Maplin were chosen, Kent would be the uncompensated loser and that the situation would be particularly worse if extensive night-time flying was allowed from such an airport?

We shall take all such matters into consideration, and we shall always give due weight to what my hon. Friend says in defending his constituents.

Will the Minister listen to representations from regional airports such as Manchester International, which believe that they have the facilities and the capacity to take up a lot of the capacity that will be imposed on London and the South-East? Will the Minister consider this suggestion seriously?

Without prejudice to the decision on the third London airport, I should like to emphasise that I believe that Manchester airport has an extremely important role to play in the United Kingdom's airport policy. I look forward to visiting that airport shortly.