HC Deb 04 April 1985 vol 76 cc1339-40
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 —raised certain problems. We shall consider as rapidly as we can any claims as soon as we have received the inspector's report.