Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill

Part of Orders of the Day — Schedule 3 – in the House of Commons at 5:51 pm on 1st November 1995.

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Photo of George Young George Young Secretary of State for Transport 5:51 pm, 1st November 1995

As I am sure that the hon. Lady knows, the Select Committee has not yet dealt with this subject. It will come to the matter, I believe. She is right to say that Union Railways is buying homes on request within the safeguarded zone for the CTRL. That includes all homes taken wholly or in part by the link. It also operates a discretionary purchase scheme for properties seriously affected by the construction or use of the CTRL in cases of severe hardship. Union Railways published new guidelines for the operation of the scheme on 19 July; they are broadly in line with the arrangements for the road schemes. In our view, widening the purchase schemes to less affected properties could worsen any blight. The Select Committee, as I have said, is still considering property and compensation issues connected with the CTRL.

The instruction by the House does not approve the additional provisions listed; it merely empowers the Select Committee to consider them formally, with the benefit of petitions from those affected. The Committee is not obliged to adopt all or any of the provisions.

The Government's aim is to deposit the additional provisions in two batches: the first—including Mardyke and Barking—in a few days' time, and the second—principally the St. Pancras approach—in early December. This should enable the first batch to be considered by the Committee starting just before Christmas. The second batch should start in Committee after the Christmas recess. The House will, I am sure, share the Committee's wish to complete its hearings without delay so that the CTRL project can go ahead as soon as possible.