HC Deb 15 January 1975 vol 884 cc440-1
17. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects the public inquiry into the routing of the M16 to be completed; and what is the programme of its construction.

Mr. Mulley

The public inquiry into objections to the proposed route of the M16 between the A10 and the A12 is unlikely to be completed for several months. Subject to the satisfactory completion of the statutory processes and the availability of funds, work on this length of the motorway could begin in mid-1977, with completion two years later.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Has the Minister received any complaints concerning the conduct of the public inquiry? Should any such complaints be addressed to him or to the inspector?

Mr. Mulley

I think that there have been complaints, but the conduct of the inquiry is in the hands of the inspector. I believe that one or two objectors were talking of applying to the High Court, but so far as I know they have not followed that up.

Mr. Newens

Is my right hon. Friend convinced that the public inquiry is legal in every respect? Certain objections have been made in this locality, where there are strong objections to the motorway itself, that the inquiry was not being conducted in a fully legal manner.

Mr. Mulley

I am advised that the statutory requirements were met in all respects, but if the relevant schemes for this length of the motorway are eventually made there will then be an opportunity for anyone who wishes to do so to challenge their validity in the courts on the grounds that they are ultra vires or that the law has not been complied with.