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Airports

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from the European Commission about the implications of an airport at Cliffe for sites designated under the (a) EU Birds Directive and (b) EU Habitats Directive; and if he will make a statement. [108436]

[holding answer 10 Apri1 2003]: During the on-going airports consultation, the European Commission has written to officials in my Department setting out the requirements of Council Directives relating to Special Protection Areas, in relation to the option for a new airport at Cliffe.

The Government were already aware of these requirements and drew attention to them in chapter 11.17 of the south-east consultation document.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to public funds of assessing the liability, within the SERAS process, of options other than those at Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and Cliffe. [109188]

The cost of developing SERAS options at locations other than those listed above is estimated at £250,000. Specific costs of appraising these options as part of the SERAS process are not available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many responses he has received concerning Alconbury Airfield following the commencement of the most recent public consultation entitled The Future Development of Air Transport in the UK (South-East). [109114]

The information requested is not available as we do not, as yet, have numbers broken down by consultation option.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the safety of a new airport in the Cliffe area of North Kent with reference to the Government commissioned report into bird hits in that area; and what action he intends to take as a result; [108469](2) what his assessment is of the comparative risk from bird hits of the various new airport capacity options for the south-east; [108467](3) if he will withdraw the Cliffe New Hub airport option from consultation; and if he will make a statement on its study on the potential safety risks from birds at and around Cliffe Marshes. [108468]

I refer the hon. Member to the Secretary of State for Transport's written statement of 7 April 2003, Official Report, column 1WS, which announced publication of a further report into the risks of birds colliding with aircraft at the option for a new airport at Cliffe. Section five of that report assesses the overall risk and includes a comparison with other airports in the UK. Copies of the report are available in the Libraries of the House.The Government will consider this report carefully, together with all consultation responses before final decisions are taken. These will be set out in a White Paper, which we aim to publish later this year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what public funds will be committed to the development of Finningley airport and related infrastructure, including (a) roads and (b) rail links. [108382]

We are not aware that any application for public funding in connection with the development of Finningley airport or related infrastructure has been made at the present time.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the (a) timescale and (b) process for decision-making on a third runway at Heathrow. [109119]

Consultation on "The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom" ends on 30 June 2003. The Government plan to issue a White Paper by the end of the year, which will provide a strategic policy framework for future airport development, including any new runways.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which properties will be compulsorily purchased if the Government give permission for the third runway at Heathrow; and how these properties will be valued and compensation to owners determined. [109120]

If any option is supported in the White Paper, it would be for a promoter to work up the detailed design and project definition and seek statutory authorisation. Any compulsory purchase of property would be carried out in accordance with the prevailing statutory arrangements; the current position is summarised in chapter 19 of the consultation document, "The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom—South East".