§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins (Putney)
I beg to move,That leave be given to bring in a Bill to restrict aircraft noise.The Bill which I seek leave to introduce is, as the lawyers say mutatis mutandis a translation of a Bill currently before the State of New York. That Bill, introduced in that country by Assemblyman Harris and Senator Smith, seeks to limit aircraft noise within that State. The Bill which I am introducing would apply to the whole of the United Kingdom but in other respects its effects and the effects of the Bill currently being introduced in the State Assembly of New York would be the same.
The American Bill recognises that aircraft noise in excess of 108 effective perceived noise decibel levels—I have a 1097 certain amount of noise decibels to contend with on my Front Bench at the moment, but I think that I can put up with it—which is called EPNDB for short, should be prohibited.
There are administrative limits here. The authorities at Heathrow have already expressed administratively that noise should be limited to 102 EPNDB at night and 112 during the day. However, these limits are without legal sanction and penalty. They apply only to take-off noise, not to landing noise.
My Bill follows the American pattern in carrying penalties and in being enforceable, but if at any point it were possible for us to do better than the Americans —for example, in requiring closer limits on night noise—this could be looked at in Committee.
In support of their Bill the American sponsors say that aircraft noise is interfering with the daily lives of people both inside and outside their homes, at their work-places, and that it constitutesa degradation of their environment".The same degradation of the environment is occurring in this country.
The Americans say that aircraft noise interferes with teaching in schools, with the work of doctors and with the recovery of patients in hospitals. Precisely the same is happening in the vicinity of Heathrow and elsewhere in the country.
The Bill would prohibit landing or take-off noise at airports over the limit of 108 EPNDB prescribed, except that in cases of emergency the noise level could be exceeded. No other distinction or limitation is made.
Apart from its intrinsic merits and urgent necessity, the Bill will provide an interesting experiment in international co-operation. It is often felt that the great barrier to reducing aircraft noise is that the country which does it unilaterally risks grave commercial consequences. However, if it were done simultaneously both here and in New York, I do not think it would be long before all other States and countries would have to fall in line.
It might be necessary to allow a certain amount of time to fit jet aircraft with the silencing kits which are now available and can be fitted at some little 1098 expense. Concorde, on landing and takeoff, would have to get under the 108 EPNDB, but, as the manufacturers say that the production aircraft will have no difficulty in meeting normal levels, there should be no complaint from the British Aircraft Corporation.
I believe that the Bill will be the first occasion on which an attempt will be made to reproduce American legislation in the United Kingdom terms. It will be an attractive technical exercise as well as a useful and necessary measure.
One of the first things that I attempted to do on coming into this House was to limit aircraft noise. In my inexperience I tried to go too far and too fast at one bound and I finished up losing my Bill. This is a modest measure, which I have succeeded in introducing within the 10 minutes available to me. I trust that the House will wish to see the Bill and that the Government will not oppose giving it a Second Reading in due course.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Hugh Jenkins, Mr. Michael Barnes, Mr. Sydney Bidwell, Mr. Norman Buchan, Mr. Toby Jessel, Mr. Frank Judd. Miss Joan Lestor, Mr. Elystan Morgan, Mr. Neville Sandelson, Sir George Sinclair and Mrs. Shirley Williams.
§ AIRCRAFT NOISE RESTRICTION
§ Bill to restrict aircraft noise presented accordingly and read the First time; to be read a Second time upon Friday 13th April and to be printed. [Bill 99.]