§ Dr. Stoate
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to(a) review the Union Railways Property's handling of land acquisition programme in relation to the new high speed rail link in Kent and (b) seek representations from the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Complaints Commissioner; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hill
The information is as follows:
- (a) The Secretary of State's powers under the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) Act 1996 only allow for the acquisition and retention of as much land as is needed for the operation of the CTRL. The application of these powers is closely regulated by my Department and its engineering advisers. For properties that are not actually required for the CTRL there is a Discretionary Purchase Scheme operated by Union Railways and policed for consistency and fairness by an independent Discretionary Purchase Auditor who makes regular reports to this Department.
- (b) The Complaints Commissioner has no locus in property matters. There is a recognised statutory mechanism for the remedy of disputes arising from compulsory purchase through the Lands Tribunal. In addition Union Railways are actively promoting the availability of a range of other new disputes resolution mechanisms which are simpler and quicker for owners and occupiers.