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.
The preliminary stage before the shortlisted sites were announced.
The Commission published information about the four shortlisted sites which were:
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.
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.
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.
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.