HC Deb 21 February 1972 vol 831 cc873-5
6. Mr. Carter-Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will insist on the implementation of undertakings given at public inquiries regarding the control of noise level in public buildings as a result of new road works; and if he will make a statement.

17. Mr. Ellis

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it a condition of his approval of schemes for widening or diverting roads about which he holds public inquiries, that undertakings that the volume of noise in public buildings will be reduced are kept by those making them.

Mr. Peter Thomas

Undertakings given at public inquiries held under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Acts are not legally enforceable unless they are embodied in the conditions of planning consent. But I would always expect public authorities and others to abide by undertakings given at such inquiries.

Mr. Carter-Jones

I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for his reply. Will he take it from me that my hon. Friend the Member for Wrexham (Mr. Ellis) and myself are particularly concerned about the manner in which public inquiries are conducted, both within the Principality and outside it? If specific undertakings are given to laymen at inquiries by legal experts and technical experts to keep down the volume of noise resulting from the works, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman use all the powers he possesses to ensure that they carry out their promises?

Mr. Thomas

Yes, certainly. My Department will do all that it can to ensure that undertakings given at an inquiry are carried out. However, they are legally enforceable only if they are made conditions of planning consent With regard to the matter with which I think the hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for Wrexham (Mr. Ellis) are concerned—the Wrexham ring road—they will know that no condition was attached to the consent other than that the work should start before 31st December, 1975. I understand, however, that discussions are proceeding which will have the effect of ensuring that the undertaking which was given is fulfilled.

Mr. Ellis

Is the Secretary of State aware that in several cases in which planning permission has been given the conditions about what should happen subsequent to the work having been done have not been carried out? Does he not think that there must be something sadly awry when this happens on an increasing scale?

Mr. Thomas

As I have said, I hope that when undertakings are given at a public inquiry they will be carried out, even though they may not be legally enforceable.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

With some reluctance, I ask the House to pass on from the topic of noise levels in public buildings.