§ Baroness White
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What consideration did the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment have in mind when she suggested (H.C. Deb. Vol. 87, No. 10, col. 176) that the petitioners appearing before the Joint Committee which considered the Okehampton Bypass Orders might have been awarded costs if they had asked for them, when the only grounds on which the committee could have made such an award under Section 7 of the Statutory Orders (Special Procedures) Act 1945, to which she referred, were that the Department of Transport, as the promoters, had subjected the petitioners "unreasonably or vexatiously" to unnecessary expense.
The Earl of Caithness
My honourable friend was concerned to show that the petitioners had the chance of asking for reimbursement of their costs, had they chosen to take it. Section 7 of the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act 1945 gives power to a Joint Committee to award such costs. As I understand it, however, the committee was not asked to exercise this power.