I have received numerous complaints about increased aircraft noise in recent weeks over Wokingham. I took these up with the authorities. They explained they were running an experiment with new routes which was making the problem worse. They agreed to curtail this experiment early in response to my and other representations they received. They pointed out they were not about to change the routes permanently to follow the way of the experiments.
There has still been continuing noise and protests after the end of these experiments. Some of this may relate to wind direction, as we do get more overflying and noise when the wind direction means easterly operations. However, in view of the undoubted noise and the level of complaints I am taking it up again with the Airport. I also suggest that any of you concerned about it and experiencing increased and unacceptable noise should make regular reports and complaints on the Heathrow noise website which is available for that purpose. (www.heathrowairport.com/noise)
I am also renewing my lobbying for reduced noise surfaces and noise barrier improvements on the M4. Lower noise materials were promised to me in the past for the next resurfacing of the motorway. The change to a managed motorway which the government is considering would also provide a suitable opportunity to improve and extend noise barrier protection near residential areas. I sympathise with all who find their lives adversely affected by aircraft, traffic or railway noise and will do what I can to see if in future these levels can be abated. We are promised quieter planes for the future. We also need quieter trains as they order new railway stock.
Some of you have written to me with concerns that the NHS may be privatised in the future, or that the proposed EU trade agreement with the USA could force privatisation. I have taken this up with the Secretary of State for Health who assures me he has no plans to privatise the current service, and expects the NHS to be outside the EU competition agreement with the USA. None of the main political parties in the UK wishes to change the central proposition of the NHS that service is offered free at the point of need to all UK citizens. It is a wicked lie to try to worry people into thinking otherwise.
There has always been strong private sector involvement in providing free healthcare to patients. Right from the foundation of the NHS most GPs have remained as private sector contractors running their own surgeries and being paid by the state for the work they do for the NHS. Right from the start most drugs and medical supplies have come from for profit private sector companies. Under governments of all 3 main parties private contractors have provided cleaning, catering and other hotel services in hospitals where required by NHS managers. No party is suggesting nationalising GPs or drug companies, so to that extent there will continue to be substantial private sector participation in the NHS.