HC Deb 29 June 1987 vol 118 cc242-3
7. Mr. Tim Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many compensation claims arising from the construction of the M25 have been settled; and how many are outstanding.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

We know of 3,274 settled cases and 5,018 outstanding cases.

Mr. Smith

Is the main reason for the delays in settling the outstanding cases difficulty in reaching agreement on the amount of compensation to be paid? If so, is my hon. Friend satisfied that the district valuer is treating all these cases with the appropriate urgency? Will he reconsider the case of my constituent, Mr. Denis Langford of Seven Hills road, Iver Heath, to see whether his case can be dealt with rather more quickly?

Mr. Bottomley

I shall write to my hon. Friend with a full reply to the points that he has made. The district valuer deserves thanks from both parties in disputed cases, because it is a good way of settling a large number of cases, especially when they arise over the construction of a major motorway, such as the M25. If improvements can be made in the procedures, we will search for them and try to bring them into effect.

Mr. Higgins

How many compensation claims are being pursued against the construction companies, given the fact that widespread repairs are already necessary on the M25?

Mr. Bottomley

Some of the repairs would normally have been carried out within the first year of the motorway being opened. On one part of the M25, we agreed to a delay because we thought that that would be of general benefit. If I can give a fuller answer to my right hon. Friend, I shall write to him.

Sir Geoffrey Pattie

Will the regulations on compensation be enforced sympathetically, or narrowly and restrictively according to the book?

Mr. Bottomley

One reason why I regretted my hon. Friend's departure to the Back Benches was that I suspected that he would ask such questions. The answer is that we are bound by the law, but I hope that within the law we can treat people as they would wish to be treated.