|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Norris: We aim to send a response to the Commission in September. We are currently consulting interested parties and shall listen carefully to views expressed by Members of the House in Committee on 10 July. I shall arrange for a copy of the response to be placed in the House Library.
Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has to ensure British seafarers are employed on the same terms and with the same incentives as are available to employers resident in other nations of the EU. 
10 Jul 1996 : Column: 196
Mr. Norris: The Swanwick air traffic control centre, which will control aircraft flying over England and Wales, is due to come into operation in December 1997. The new Scottish air traffic control centre at Prestwick, which will control aircraft over Scotland and Northern Ireland, is expected to become operational in the winter of 2000-01.
Mr. Norris: Bids for light rail schemes are submitted to my Department during the annual transport policies and programme round. I am prepared to consider supporting light rail schemes, including extensions to the Greater Manchester metrolink, provided it can be demonstrated that light rail is the most cost-effective solution to a particular urban transport problem. Schemes must attract significant private sector and local investment and be put forward as part of a package bid, incorporating a coherent transport strategy to achieve modal shift from the private car. However, light rail is expensive and not the only solution to urban transport problems. The difficulties and costs associated with developing schemes should not be underestimated.
Mr. Mills: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will exercise his discretionary powers to grant compensation to those dwellings in Barstow lane affected by his proposals to widen the M42. 
10 Jul 1996 : Column: 197
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Iain Mills, dated 10 July 1996:
10 Jul 1996 : Column: 198 10 Jul 1996 : Column: 199 10 Jul 1996 : Column: 200
The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your recent question about compensation for properties on Barston Lane affected by the M42 widening proposals.
Once a new or improved road has been opened to traffic for 12 months people who consider that their home has depreciated in value as a result of the physical factors arising from the use of the new or improved road may claim compensation under Part 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1973 (compensation for injurious affection). The physical factors are noise, vibration, smell, fumes, smoke and artificial lighting and the discharge of substances onto land.
There are no powers to grant compensation to owners of dwellings affected by a road proposal prior to it being opened to traffic for 12 months. Owners who need to move for reasons unconnected with the road but who are unable to sell privately because of the threat of road improvements may apply to have their homes purchased by the Highways Agency. The Agency will consider purchase if all the qualifying criteria are met. The enclosed guidelines explain this in more detail.
Guidelines for discretionary purchase under S246(2a) of the Highways Act 1980 of land in advance of the start of works
The Highways Agency acts on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport to build and improve trunk roads and motorways. If your enjoyment of your home is seriously affected by a proposal to build or improve a trunk road or motorway, you may ask the Highways Agency to buy it even if it is not needed for the proposed scheme.
Each application for discretionary purchase will be considered on its merits. These guidelines indicate the general manner in which cases will be considered.
Considering your application
The Agency has no obligation to buy property which is not needed for a road scheme as the relevant powers under section 246(2A) of the Highways Act 1980 are discretionary. Some applications will not be successful, but in such cases you may be entitled to compensation under Part I of the Land Compensation Act 1973 after the road or the road improvement has been opened. Your home may also be eligible for noise insulation.
Section 246(2A) of the Highways Act 1980 makes pre-conditions which have to be met before an application can be considered. These are described in paragraphs 1 and 2 below. If your application meets these pre-conditions we will then consider it in two stages:
First to see if, in our opinion, your enjoyment of your property will be seriously affected and, if we think it will be,
Second, to decide whether to offer to buy, taking account of the information in your application.
The factors we consider in deciding on serious effect are set out in paragraph 3 and those we take into account in deciding whether to offer to buy are set out in paragraphs 4-7.
Before your application can be considered:
1. Work on blighted land
The proposed road scheme must include work on land which is statutorily blighted within the meaning set out in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. This means in most instances that the Agency has safeguarded the route by notifying the local planning authority, or has announced the preferred route for the scheme, or has published or made compulsory purchase orders for the scheme. If no land qualifies as being blighted (for example, in the case of maintenance work or, in some cases, widening within the highway boundaries), or the land that is blighted is remote from your property, the Agency may not be able to buy your property.
2. Qualifying interest
You must have a "qualifying interest" (as set out in section 149(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) in the property which will be seriously affected. This broadly means you must be an owner-occupier. In the case of a dwelling, you must either:
be living in your property at the date on which the Agency contracts to purchase it and have owned it and lived there for at least six months before this date; or
if the property is empty, it must not have been empty for more than twelve months and you must have lived there during the six months prior to it becoming empty. You will not have a qualifying interest if the property is let by you or if you are a tenant.
The rules for commercial and industrial properties are similar to those for dwellings, except that in order for it to be eligible the property must have an annual value for rating purposes not exceeding £18,000.
Assessment of serious effect
3. Serious effect The Agency must be of the opinion that your enjoyment of your property will be seriously affected by either the construction or the use of the road. Serious effect may be caused by a number of factors including:--
(a) Noise: If the predicted noise levels at your property are:
when due to construction, well in excess of 70 dB(A) (12 hourLeq) or more for a substantial period of the day over at least three months; or
predicted to increase by 1 dB(A) to a level of at least 68 dB(A) (18 hourL10), due to the use of the road;
we will normally consider that your enjoyment of your property will be seriously affected by noise. In assessing the predicted or relevant noise level, the Agency will take into account the benefits of any proposed environmental mitigation measures. These may include noise fencing or earth mounds and road surfacing may also be taken into account. A Glossary of terms related to Noise Measurement may be found in Appendix 1.
(b) Diminution in Value: If, at the time of assessment, your property is or is likely to be, in the opinion of the Agency, significantly diminished in value as a result of the road proposal, we will normally consider it seriously affected. Diminution in value is the amount that the value of your property has been reduced due to the road scheme and is normally expressed as a percentage of the assessed unaffected market value. The diminution will be assessed by our Valuer but you may submit any valuation advice you may have obtained. As a guide, diminution in value of less than 15 per cent. would not normally be considered to have seriously affected your enjoyment of your property.
(c) Medical Conditions: If you, or a dependant living with you in the property, suffer from a medical condition (such as a respiratory condition or tinnitus, but not stress or anxiety) and, in the opinion of the Agency, this medical condition is likely to be severely aggravated by physical effects, such as dust, noise or pollution, from either the construction of the road or its use, we are likely to consider that your enjoyment of your property will be seriously affected.
The factors listed in these guidelines are not exhaustive. Other factors or combinations of factors may cause serious effect and the Agency will take these into account when considering your application.
Deciding whether to offer to buy--(exercise of discretion)
4. Foreknowledge We will not normally exercise discretion to buy if you bought your property after the Preferred Route for the scheme affecting your property had been published or the route had been safeguarded (this means notified to the local planning authority) and we consider that at the date of purchase the extent of information in the public domain concerning the proposed scheme was such that a reasonable person could have foreseen the general effects that the road proposal might cause upon the enjoyment of the property.
5. Your efforts to sell the property In all cases you must have made reasonable efforts to sell the property before your application will be considered. You should be able to produce evidence that the property has been on the market for not less than three months at what is, in the opinion of the Agency's Valuer, a realistic market price. You must also show that no offer within 15 per cent. of the unaffected market value has been received or, if one has been received, that it has been subsequently withdrawn due to the presence of the proposed scheme.
6. Reasons for sale Once we have concluded that your property will be seriously affected, that it was not purchased with foreknowledge, and that you have attempted to sell it on the open market, we must be satisfied that there are pressing reasons for selling and that severe hardship will occur if you are unable to sell. The reasons for selling must be, in most cases, caused by factors unrelated to the road scheme. For example, you should be able to demonstrate at least one of the following:
(a) a need to move to a larger or different home, such as the need to accommodate a growing family or the need to move home for employment purposes;
(b) external financial pressures that necessitate the sale of property, such as the need to realise assets in conjunction with divorce or to release funds in connection with your business, or if you are threatened with re-possession;
(c) you, or a dependant living with you, in the affected property, have developed a medical condition (such as a severe handicap causing inability to negotiate stairs) which necessitates selling and which is not related to the proposed scheme;
(d) you, or a dependant living with you, in the affected property, have a medical condition which is likely to be severely aggravated by the effects of the construction work or the use of the highway and this is supported by satisfactory written medical evidence. However, as this reason is linked to the construction or use of the road, we will not normally make an offer to buy earlier than nine months in advance of the start of the construction of the road. If you make an application on medical grounds early in the life of a scheme, you may be asked to re-apply later when the scheme reaches the relevant stage.
7. Noise and diminution in value We will not normally offer to buy your property unless we are of the opinion that it will be seriously affected by BOTH diminution in value AND noise arising during the construction period or during the first year following the opening of the road to traffic (see paragraph 3 above for an explanation of serious effect). An exception is when the accepted reason for moving is based upon medical grounds as set out in paragraph 6(d) above.
Applications and offers
8. Agreement to purchase We normally expect to arrive at a decision on a properly completed application within three months of its receipt. If we offer to buy, the offer will be open for acceptance by you for one month and will be subject to agreement on price and exchange of contracts within six months of the date of the offer. If you fail to meet these timescales the offer to purchase may be withdrawn.
9. Compensation We will offer to buy your property at a price, assessed at the date of the offer, which disregards the scheme proposals. You will be required to bear your surveyor's and legal fees and moving expenses except where your reason for sale is related to the proposed scheme. In cases where the reason for sale is related to the proposed scheme, such as medical conditions as described in paragraph 6(d), we will also reimburse your agents and legal fees and we may also make payments for Disturbance. We will not make Home Loss payments.
10. How to apply Use the copy of Form G1 attached as Appendix 2 of these Guidelines, or contact any of the Highways Agency offices listed in appendix 3 and ask for a further copy. When you, or your agent, have completed it, send it together with all the attachments to the appropriate office set out in appendix 3.
You should note that these Guidelines may be amended or withdrawn at any time without notice. Please check with one of the Highways Agency offices to ensure that this is the current version.
Appendix 1: Glossary of terms related to Noise Measurement and Typical Noise levels.
Appendix 2: Form G1.
Appendix 3: List of Relevant Highway Agency Offices addresses and telephone numbers.
1. Glossary of terms related to noise measurement
dB(A): dB or decibel is the unit used for the measurement of sound on a logarithmic scale. (A) is the weighting applied to the decibel unit to represent the frequency response of the human ear.
L10(18 hour): The arithmetic mean of the hourlyL10 noise levels between 0600 and 2400 hours on a normal working day. L10 is the noise level exceeded for one tenth of a period of one hour.
Leq: The equivalent continuous sound level in dB(A). This is the sound level which, if maintained continuously for a stated period of time, would give the equivalent amount of noise energy as the varying levels would over the same period.
2. Typical noise levels
0 dB(A): Threshold of hearing
35 dB(A): Quiet bedroom
40 dB(A): Library
50 dB(A): Ordinary conversation
60 dB(A): Office environment
62.5 dB(A): Communication starts becoming difficult
70 dB(A): Passenger car (60 km/h at seven metres distance)
81 dB(A): Modern twin-engined jet
83 dB(A): Heavy diesel lorry (40 km/h at seven metres distance)
90 dB(A): Hazard to hearing from continuous exposure
95 dB(A): Pneumatic drill (unsilenced) at seven metres
120 dB(A): Threshold of pain.
10 Jul 1996 : Column: 198
10 Jul 1996 : Column: 199
10 Jul 1996 : Column: 200
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Iain Mills, dated 10 July 1996:
The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your recent question about proposals to widen the M42.
The original intention was to widen the motorway between its junctions with the M5 at Junction 1 and the M6 at Junction 7. We consulted the public about proposals for widening in June 1994. As you know, following the road programme review in 1995, it was decided that the more pressing need was to widen the section from Junction 3A (the M40 connection) north to Junction 7 and a scheme for that length was placed in the main programme. We are currently reviewing it to see whether the scheme objectives can be met in a more cost effective way. In doing so, we shall take account of the responses to the earlier proposals.
The section from Junction 1A to 3 is now for the longer term. Work on all longer term schemes will be taken forward as the main programme is completed.
10 Jul 1996 : Column: 201
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Iain Mills, dated 10 July 1996:
The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your recent question asking if he would publish the criteria and methodology used to establish the loss of value to properties affected by the M42 widening.
The criteria and methodology used for the M42 are the same as for any other road scheme. In the case of discretionary purchase the published guidelines explain that diminution is the amount by which a property has been or will be reduced in value due to the road scheme and is normally expressed as a percentage of the assessed unaffected market value. Diminution in value of less than 15% would not normally be considered to have seriously affected enjoyment of the property. Diminution will be assessed by our valuer by applicants may submit any valuation advice they have obtained. In assessing the unaffected market price the valuer is instructed to disregard all scheme effects including the effects on a property valuation caused by the local purchase of property and its tenanting or subsequent resale by the Highways Agency. If, on the bases of the external examination, diminution is assessed at less than 15%, the valuer should consider whether an internal examination is likely to have a material effect on the valuations and, if it is considered it will, should seek to carry out and report on this basis.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|