§ 10. Mr. Moate
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made on the question of the siting of the runways and stacking areas and routes of flight paths for the proposed Foulness Airport; when he expects to be able to announce his decisions on these matters; and if he will make a statement.
As promised, we will be consulting local authorities in Kent and Essex on runway siting and related problems before taking a decision. We hope to start discussions shortly.
§ Mr. Moate
Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise the crucial importance of this decision to the people of Kent and the threat it represents to the environment of our county? Will he confirm that he intends to give full priority to the noise factor from the point of view of Kent and that even if extra cost is involved, the runways will be sited as far to the north east as is feasible?
Yes, Sir. I can guarantee that the siting of the runways will particularly take into account the noise factor. We shall be closely consulting the people of Kent on this subject.
§ Mr. McCrindle
As at least one of the comprehensive development plans for Foulness shows the feasibility of placing the airport at least seven miles from the coast, with the minimum of noise to the inhabitants of Essex and Kent, may I ask my right hon. Friend to lay that down as a minimum condition for any plan he approves?
I have assured the House that, in deciding the basis of the airport and its communications, we shall take as No. 1 priority the environmental considerations.
§ Sir S. McAdden
May we have an assurance that my right hon. Friend will consult not only the local authorities but also the large number of other organisations, many of which have written to him, which wish to be consulted?
I am aware of that and I have been in close consultation with the various organisations and hon. Members, and I shall continue to be so.