§ 8. Mr. Clifford Forsythe
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he is in a position to report on the progress of the public inquiry into the proposed dualling of the A26 between Antrim and Ballymena.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
The inquiry closed on 19 March this year, and I now await the inspector's report.
§ Mr. Forsythe
Because the inquiry has lasted considerably longer than the three days confidently predicted by the Department at the outset, will the Minister now look at ways of compensating objectors because of the additional legal costs involved, bearing in mind that the delays were caused by the Department in the presentation of its evidence and, 'on some occasions, by the non-presentation of its evidence?
§ Mr. Patten
I realise that the length of the inquiry—I think that in all it sat for 16 days over a couple of months 1340 —raised certain problems. We shall consider as rapidly as we can any claims as soon as we have received the inspector's report.