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Column 553Department, or to a surveyor, who can act as their agent. Those who are still in possession of their homes a year after the opening of the road can make a claim. We shall go in for extensive local publicity, so that no one loses the chance to claim for a reduction in value of his home because of noise or other relevant factors. My hon. Friend paid tribute to the importance of the new road. Although I said in my speech at the opening of the road--which was a cheerful occasion--that those who were experiencing noise for the first time would find it unpleasant--I cannot remember whether I used a stronger word than that-- most of us understand that it is not nice to have to accept noise from a new road. Nor is it nice for local people living in the settlements along the old road to
Column 554have to put up with the traffic. Clearly, the traffic on the new road is travelling faster, and that will lead to an increase in noise. It may be generally better that that should be so, but we must always recognise that progress has its penalties.
The constituents who sent 200 letters to my Department, some of which I have seen, and the letters that my hon. Friend held earlier, show that there is a problem. So far as the Department is able, it will try to solve it. However, I do not want to make any extravagant promises. Even with the increase of 20 to 40 per cent. in the next two years in road spending, we must watch out for the money while trying to be fair. When we receive the noise report, the new forecast will be presented in public. I hope that that will help my hon. Friend and his constituents.
Question put and agreed to.
Adjourned accordingly at half-past Eleven o'clock .
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