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Mr. Tony Colman (Putney): My right hon. Friend will not be surprised to learn that my constituents will not welcome the statement. Certainly, they will not think that their views have been taken account of.
My right hon. Friend has referred two or three times to the westerly preference. It was introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Mullin) when he was the Minister responsible for aviation, and it applies to only 16 night flights. As part of the decision that my right hon. Friend has taken, is he considering introducing a westerly preference for daytime flights, because that would alleviate a huge amount of the noise that affects west London?
Mr. Byers: The reasoning behind the decisions that I have taken on the specific planning application for terminal 5 is contained in the decision letter. We will continue to consider particular issues that my hon. Friend believes will benefit his constituents in Putney if he wants to raise them with us. We want to be helpful wherever possible to those people who are affected not just by today's decision, but by Heathrow being a major airport. The reasons for my decision and the way in which we intend to carry it forward are contained in the decision letter, which should now be available to hon. Members.
Dr. Vincent Cable (Twickenham): As another Member who represents thousands of people under the take-off and landing paths, I know that there will be considerable concern about whether the Secretary of State's limited concessions will be enforced. How will the 480,000 planned limit be enforced? As local authority planning enforcement procedures are weak, will he take direct responsibility for it and describe the sanctions that will be employed if the limit is breached?
Mr. Byers: As I said to the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Dr. Tonge), the important thing about the restriction on the number of flights is that it is a planning condition which is attached to the decision. That was not the case with terminal 4. A similar approach was not part of its planning condition, so it could be ignored. The planning authority is responsible for ensuring that planning conditions are met, but if any hon. Member, including the hon. Gentleman, believes that a relevant planning authority is not discharging its responsibilities, they should inform me or my ministerial team and we will ensure that that happens. Statutory duties fall on planning authorities, and we will ensure that when such conditions are imposed they will be enforced by the relevant planning authority.
Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock): The Secretary of State did not answer the question about the M25. Conservative and Labour Ministers, the Highways Agency and the applicants made it clear that widening the M25 in the west is indivisible from the application. What is his response to that?
The same arguments on inter-lining, which form the crux of his argument that we must maintain our competitive position in relation to Charles de Gaulle and Schipol airports, will be advanced, as sure as night turns into day, in the case for a third runway at Heathrow. The stage has to come when we say, "Thus far, no further." The rapacious appetite of the industry is such that it goes for the terminal and then argues for the runway, and once it has done that, it argues for another terminal and another runway. The Secretary of State has accepted arguments that could also be accepted for terminals 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and so on for ever. That is the profound mistake.
On the specifics, in the time available to me I was not able to go through all the conditions that are reflected in the decision letter. I apologise for referring continually to it, but it is, of necessity, a lengthy document. It contains the reasoning behind my response to the inspector's report. My hon. Friend will see in the decision letter that we are supporting improvements to the M25. I have accepted the inspector's recommendations on it, although I have not agreed to his recommendation on widening the M4, which I think I mentioned in my statement.
Mr. Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge): The Secretary of State talked about the benefits to the wider community of terminal 5, and I concur with that view. He also talked about the need to balance the wider benefits against the costs imposed on the local community. Does he accept that many people locally will be disappointed that he has not been able to announce today a clear trade-off between the decision to go ahead with terminal 5 and the end of night flights?
The benefits that accrue to people who use night flights are tiny compared with the huge costs that are imposed on what is a wide community. Will he assure the House that when he reviews night flights it will be on the basis that night flying will be allowed only if the benefits can be shown, in aggregate, substantially to outweigh the costs? Will he also assure us that he understands that a mere reduction in the number of night flights will not deliver a significant benefit to the people of west London, Surrey and surrounding areas, who need a complete blackout on flights if they are to get some sleep?
Mr. Byers: The important point will be the nature of the consultation. The inspector makes strong statements about night flights in his report, and I shall ensure that the consultation document reflects his concerns. I assure the hon. Gentleman that the consultation that I have to conduct on any changes to the night noise regime will be completed, and decisions made, before terminal 5 is in operation.
Mr. Brian H. Donohoe (Cunninghame, South): In making his decision, my right hon. Friend will realise its likely effect on line-to-line traffic between mainland Europe and regional airports. What assessment has he
Mr. Byers: Yes, the decision letter makes it clear that the planning inspector has introduced restrictions on the number of air traffic movements, but not in any particular direction or to a particular destination. I know that a number of Members are concerned about retail floor space. When they have the opportunity to read the decision letter, they will see that I have placed a restriction on the amount of retail floor space that can form part of the terminal 5 development.
Pete Wishart (North Tayside): I do not think that the Secretary of State fully answered the first point made by the hon. Member for Cunninghame, South (Mr. Donohoe). Surely further concentration of air facilities at Heathrow will have a detrimental effect on international air services from Scotland, Wales and even the English regions. Surely the Secretary of State should now turn his attention to other areas of the UK which badly need the massive improvements in infrastructure and tourism that enhanced air services can provide, and the jobs that go with them.
Mr. Byers: We are dealing today with a specific planning application on terminal 5 at Heathrow, and we have to address that. It would be improper for me to take into account a range of external factors in arriving at a decision on a specific planning application. However, the hon. Gentleman is right to draw my attention to wider issues in aviation. That industry is important for the whole of the United Kingdom, and particularly for regions such as the north-east, where my constituency is, and for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
Mr. Byers: And Yorkshire. Many parts of the country will benefit from a vibrant, strong aviation sector. That is why the aviation White Paper, which we will publish next autumn, will be a significant document. I want it to map out the future for the industry in the UK. It will be published at an important time, because, one hopes, we will be over the worst effects of 11 September and there will probably have been changes in the industry. The Government need to respond to those changes and to the needs of countries such as Scotland, and the White Paper will be significant in helping us to achieve some of the objectives outlined by the hon. Gentleman.
Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): Declaring an interest as one who, like Scottish colleagues, has become familiar with every cubic metre of the upper atmosphere above Watford, may I ask whether this decision will do anything about the stacking problem? What is the technical advice from air traffic controllers? Anecdotally, we are told that there are problems in the sheer control of the hugely increased capacity at Heathrow.