Catalogue description Roskill Commission on the Third London Airport

This record is held by Bedfordshire Archives

Details of CS LA
Reference: CS LA
Title: Roskill Commission on the Third London Airport

CS LA/1 Stage One (original submissions to the Commission)


CS LA/2 Stage Two (evidence given at local hearings)


CS LA/2/F Foulness Site


CS LA/2/N Nuthampstead Site


CS LA/2/T Thurleigh Site


CS LA/2/W Wing Site


CS LA/3 Stage Three (written submissions by parties)


CS LA/4 Stage Four (minutes of meetings between the Commission and parties to discuss aspects of the Commission Research Team's published work and to lay the ground work for Stage Five).


CS LA/5 Stage Five (final hearings of all parties)


CS LA/5/A General Matters


CS LA/5/B Statements of Evidence - First Tier Local Authorities


CS LA/5/B1 Beds, Bucks, Cambs, Herts, Hunts, Essex & Northants CCs


CS LA/5/B2 Beds, Cambs, Essex, Herts, Hunts & Northants CCs


CS LA/5/B3 Beds, Bucks, Herts & Northants CCs


CS LA/5/B4 Beds, Bucks, Northants & Oxon CCs


CS LA/5/B5 Cambs, Essex & Herts CCs


CS LA/5/B6 Bucks CC


CS LA/5/B7 Bucks & Oxon CCs


CS LA/5/B8 Herts CC


CS LA/5/B9 Kent CC


CS LA/5/B10 Other Local Authorities - Surrey CC, West Sussex CC, GLC, Luton County Borough and Southend-on-Sea County Borough


CS LA/5/C Statements of Evidence - Other Authorities with Statutory Responsibilities


CS LA/5/C1 British Airports Authority


CS LA/5/C2 Other Transport Authorities (BEA, BOAC, BRB, Port of London Authority)


CS LA/5/C3 Development Corporations (MKDC and Stevenage DC)


CS LA/5/D Statements 0f Evidence - Resistance Associations & Similar Groups










CS LA/5/D5 The Sheppey Group




CS LA/5/D7 Burnham, River Crouch & Seaward Approaches Protection Association


CS LA/5/E Statements of Evidence - Other Bodies




CS LA/5/E2 Thames Aeroport Group Ltd.


CS LA/5/E3 Planning & Other Professional Bodies (SERPLAN, TCPA and RIBA)


CS LA/5/E4 Aviation Groups (BALPA, British Gliding Ass., London Gliding Club, British Light Aviation Centre)


CS LA/5/E5 Agricultural & Landowning Bodies (CLA and NFU)


CS LA/5/E6 Environmental & Heritage Bodies (CPRE and NT)


CS LA/5/E7 Bodies Concerned with Noise Pollution (BACAN, KACAN and Noise Abatement Society)


CS LA/5/E8 Ornithological Bodies (RSPB and Wildfowl Trust)


CS LA/5/E9 Other Organisations (Cambridge University)


CS LA/5/F Local Hearings


CS LA/5/G Written Representations


CS LA/5/H Transcripts of Proceedings


CS LA/6 Miscellaneous Correspondence


CS LA/7 Miscellaneous Publications


CS LA/7/A HMSO Papers & Proceedings of the Commission


CS LA/7/B Further Research Team material


CS LA/7/C Other Publications

Held by: Bedfordshire Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Administrative / biographical background:



ACAFA Action Committee Against Foulness Airport


BAA British Airports Authority


BACAN British association for the Control of Aircraft Noise


BALPA British Airline Pilots' Association


BARA Bedfordshire Airport Resistance Association


BCC Bedfordshire County Council


BEA British European Airways


BOAC British Overseas Airways Corporation


BRB British Railways Board


CC County Council


CLA Country Landowners' Association


CPRE Council for the Protection of Rural England


GANE Gatwick Anti Noise Executive


GLC Greater London Council


KACAN Kew Association for Control of Aircraft Noise


LLUDC Leighton Linslade Urban District Council


MKDC Milton Keynes Development Corporation


NFU National Farmers' Union


NPA Nuthampstead Preservation Association


NPS Nuthampstead Preservation Society


PC Parish Council


RDC Rural District Council


RSPB Royal Society for the Protection of Birds


SERPLAN South East Regional Planning Association


STOL Short Take-Off and Landing (aircraft)


TCPA Town & Country Planning Association


TECDA Thurleigh Emergency Committee for Democratic Action


TEDCO Thames Estuary Development Corporation


TLA Third London Airport


TUC Trades Union Conference


UDC Urban District Council


WARA Wing Airport Resistance Association


WI Women's Institute


The Roskill Commission was set up to investigate the possibility of building a third airport to serve London (after Heathrow and Gatwick). The Inquiry was held over five stages between 1968 and 1970. These stages are outlined below.


Stage One


The preliminary stage before the shortlisted sites were announced.


Stage Two


The Commission published information about the four shortlisted sites which were:


Foulness (Essex);


Nuthampstead (Herts);


Thurleigh (Beds);


Wing (Bucks), also known as Cublington.


At Stage Two, four hearings were held, one in the vicinity of each site and relating only to that site, at which evidence from interested parties was heard.


Stage Three


A Research Team appointed by the Commission carried our investigations in order to produce a report. Technical submissions from interested parties were received and studied.


Stage Four


A series of meetings was held at which the Commission, the Research Team and representatives of those parties who had been granted leave to appear at Stage Five discussed aspects of the Research Team's report.


Stage Five


74 days of hearings took place at the Piccadilly Hotel in London during which all interested parties stated their case and underwent cross-examination from counsel employed by other parties. The hearings were broken down into seven types of evidence as follows:


Subject A: Principles and Methods of Valuation in the Cost/Benefit Analysis;


Subject B: the Timing of the Need for the Airport;


Subject C: Air Matters (i.e. air traffic control, the effect on other airports and on defence installations and air safety).


Subject D: Site Matters (airport design, location, construction & layout and meteorology


Subject E: Surface Transport


Subject F: Environment & Planning, including Noise and Urbanisation


Subject G: Any Other Relevant Matters (including financial implications).


Each subject was heard individually with defence matters being held at separate sessions "in camera". The submissions of evidence and cross-examination of witnesses was followed by closing speeches.


At the end of the process the Commission recommended, on a majority decision, that the Third London Airport, together with its surrounding "Airport City" should be sited at Wing. One member of the Commission dissented, believing that Foulness was the best option.


In the event the Wing option was discarded and the government of the day eventually decided to build the new airport at Maplin Sands (Essex), not far from the original Foulness site. However, in July 1974, the Maplin project was abandoned. The government then considered other options, including making Luton into London's third airport. By December 1979 the then government considered the expansion of Stansted airport to be the best solution.


This archive has been compiled from the files created by Bedfordshire County Council's County Secretary's Department. They naturally favour the two sites that would effect the county most (Thurleigh and Wing), though a considerable amount of evidence concerning the Nuthampstead and Foulness sites as well as general information concerning the issue as a whole was compiled. The County Record Office's normal practice (as outlined in its Collecting Policy) is to collect material mainly of relevance to Bedfordshire. However, given the interlinked nature of the records of the Commission and the fact that the Third London Airport was an important national issue of which records might well not survive elsewhere, it was decided to keep the archive intact, retaining information on the Bucks, Herts and Essex sites and fights as well as those concerning Thurleigh. This enables the researcher to build up a picture of the work of the Commission and the co-ordinated campaign against the various sites. It also serves to highlight differences of approach and/or emphasis between Bedfordshire County Council and BARA compared with other local authorities and pressure groups.

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