Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden): Has the Minister asked the Treasury whether it plans to finance the new runway that he assumes will be built at Luton airport? Is he aware that my constituents will be severely affected by plans to expand Luton airport to the size of Gatwick airport? They are extremely angry that his report on the matter is unique in assuming that there will be a new runway at Luton, whereas all other new runway projects are treated as optional. Will he promise to give my constituents‘ concerns treatment equal to that given to the concerns of all other people living near airports?

    Mr. Spellar: Two issues are involved in that question. One has to do with the options in connection with airports, including Luton airport. The other has to do with the financing of the consequences of any decision. The local community has given the proposed expansion of Luton airport very considerable support. [Interruption.] Perhaps the people of Luton are looking forward to the jobs that will be created, in contrast to the not-in-my-back-yard position adopted by some Opposition Members. Luton residents have shown considerable support for the project.

    However, the proposal regarding Luton airport is being put up for consultation in the same way that all the other options are. We wait to hear the views of the constituents of the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley) and other hon. Members on that option, and the views of the wider community, industry and trade unions. We look forward to receiving the right hon. Gentleman‘s representations on the matter.

    As the right hon. Gentleman also knows?

    Mr. Speaker: Order. The Minister‘s answer is too long.