HL Deb 02 August 1982 vol 434 cc674-5WA
Lord Ironside

asked Her Majesty's Government:

  1. (a) What soil tests and other ground surveys they have carried out on each of the alternative 675 routes considered for the M.1-A.1 link road in the southern corridor in the vicinity of Naseby.
  2. (b) In what way the proposal to consider a new alternative route closer to Naseby village does not comply with the principal and secondary constraints which were applied in the selection of the Southern Corridor, and whether any soil tests have been carried out along this proposed route.
  3. (c) What insurmountable engineering problems, if any, have been discovered which would prevent a route being chosen from the Southern Corridor passing between Naseby and Haselbech Villages.

The Earl of Avon

(a) In 1977 a desk study was carried out which looked at the basic geology of the preferred southern corridor announced in 1975 and identified potential problem areas. This was followed in 1979 by a more detailed desk study which assessed design possibilities in relation to the geological conditions in the area south of Naseby. Finally in 1979–80 investigations were carried out involving the digging of trial pits and soil boreholes to check the results of the desk studies.

(b) The constraints on a route for the proposed road south of Naseby included the effects on the village, on individual properties, on farmland and on the economics of the route. All these factors have been changed to some degree by the need to move closer to the village to avoid the ground instability. Soil tests have been carried out and confirm the feasibility of a route south of Naseby. The considerations involved in assessing the original southern corridor are still relevant to the assessment of the more detailed information now available on alternative routes north and south of Naseby.

(c) There are no insurmountable engineering problems in constructing a route between Naseby and Haselbech. However, the instability of the ground south of Naseby in the corridor originally presented to the public in 1974 has made it necessary to position a southern route closer to Naseby than had been envisaged at the time of the decision to adopt the southern route in 1975. As I said in my Answer to Lord Gainford's Question in the House on 9th July, Her Majesty's Government are looking at possible routes both north and south of Naseby, and the southern route, if selected, would run between Naseby and Haselbech (Vol. 432: cols 995–996).