§ 6. Mr. Boscawen
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average length of time currently needed between the date of a public inquiry into urban relief road proposals and the publication of his decision on them.
§ Mr. Guy Barnett
The time varies according to the complexity of the issues and the weight of objection.
§ Mr. Boscawen
I thank the hon. Gentleman for that non-reply. Does he not think that the fact that it is now 11 months since there was a public inquiry into the Wells inner relief road is disgraceful? An appalling sense of injustice is felt by those whose homes are blighted, who are having to wait so long and cannot make any plans about their future, about their homes or about their finances. There is a feeling that the officials in the 1508 hon. Gentleman's Department just do not care. Would he care to comment on that?
§ Mr. Barnett
I shall certainly comment. The hon. Gentleman is correct in saying that the inquiry took place at the beginning of this year. We have received the report, which my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Transport and I are considering carefully and urgently. I sympathise with the people who may be affected by the plans, but I must underline the importance of seeing that decisions are right and that all the factors are properly taken into account. The hon. Gentleman's is a case where there has been inevitable delay, but I assure him, as I have already done in correspondence, that we are getting on with the matter as urgently as possible.
§ Mr. Forman
Is the Minister aware that exactly the same considerations apply to the M23 north of Hooley, which affects my constituency? There has now been a delay of about 10 years in that regard. Will the hon. Gentleman tell his colleagues in the Department of Transport to get on and take a decision which removes property blight from my constituents once and for all?
§ Mr. Ronald Atkins
Does my hon. Friend agree that inquiries could be speeded up if information required by protesters were available at the beginning of the inquiries?
§ Mr. Boscawen
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.