HC Deb 17 February 1998 vol 306 cc595-6W
Mr. Chope

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what additional cost has been incurred compared with budget forecasts as a result of errors made in the calculation of noise predictions in respect of the A31 road improvement at Ashley Heath; [28479]

(2) what were the noise predictions made before construction started on the A31 Ashley Heath improvement in respect of the impact upon properties in St. Ives Wood; and what were the noise levels recorded after construction was complete; [28524]

(3) how many claims for purchase or compensation have been made by householders in respect of the impact of the A31 Ashley Heath improvement; and how many have so far been settled, and at what cost; [28525]

(4) what forecast was made prior to construction of the cost of claims for purchase or compensation for landholders affected by the A31 Ashley Heath improvements. [28526]

Ms Glenda Jackson:

I have asked the Chief Executive, of the Highways Agency, to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from David York to Mr. Christopher Chope, dated 17 February 1998: The Transport Minister, Glenda Jackson, has asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency to reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about the A31 Ashley Heath junction improvement. In his absence I am writing on his behalf. Estimates provided by the District Valuer before construction began for the cost of acquisition of property and compensation arising from construction of the scheme amounted to £130,000. This did not cover the cost of buying under discretionary purchase rules property which was considered to be seriously affected by traffic using the new scheme. To date 9 interests in property needed for construction have been acquired at a cost of approx £125,000 and 95 claims for compensation for loss in value of property have been received which could cost £150,000. Property to the value of £2.6m has been acquired because it was considered to be seriously affected but will be resold and it is expected that a large part of that sum will be recouped. Revisiting calculations of predicted noise levels from traffic using the junction improvement led to applications for purchase of property which had previously been refused being accepted. Additional costs of about £100,000 resulted. In accordance with the Noise Insulation Regulations, predictions of future noise levels in the vicinity of the junction were published in 1991. I will arrange for a copy of this report to be placed in the House of Commons library. No comprehensive measurement of noise levels has been made since the junction improvement has been completed although the local authority has taken several spot readings.