§ 2. Mr. Chapman
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his roads policy, in the light of the National Economic Development Office civil engineering report: "A Fairer and Faster Route to Major Road Construction".
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Michael Spicer)
My right hon. Friend made an interim response to the Economic Development Committee last March. Consideration of the report is almost complete and we hope to give a full response to the EDC in the near future. The response will be published and I shall send my hon. Friend a copy.
§ Mr. Chapman
Will my hon. Friend confirm that the Government's objective—there is plenty of scope for doing this—ought to be to expedite public inquiries into major road proposals and that this can be done without any loss of rights by those who are adversely affected or who make representations? Furthermore, will he confirm that it would be possible for the Government to improve the compensation paid to those who are adversely affected without any extra call being made upon public funds, provided that the consultations and the procedures could be expedited?
§ Mr. Spicer
I cannot prejudge our response to the Economic Development Committee. However, we recognise that serious delays can be caused by planning procedures. We have to balance these against the rights of those individuals who are affected. We are looking at ways in which compensation can be improved.
§ Mr. Bruinvels
I recognise the need to speed up motorway and major road construction, but will my hon. Friend consider the need to monitor the working of these roads once they have been constructed? I have in mind the notorious cracks that arose on the M25 during construction.
§ Mr. Spicer
The answer has to be, yes. We certainly monitor roads after they have been built. That is one of the reasons why maintenance has been stepped up.