BUSINESSES will not be offered compensation when Network Rail closes major roads for up to four months at a time, the Government has said.

Transport Minister Stephen Hammond made his declaration to Wantage MP Ed Vaizey on Thursday over the £1bn electrification of the Great Western Mainline from London through Oxfordshire.

Mr Vaizey was seeking reassurances from the minister that his constituents would not be adversely affected when the rail firm closes 19 road bridges in Oxford and South Oxfordshire, including those at Steventon High Street, the A338 at Grove and the A415 at Culham.

He said: “The minister was clear there will be no offers of direct compensation to businesses affected by the work, but that other ways would be looked at to help to manage the adverse impact.”

Mr Vaizey said he told the minister: “We need to ensure that only one of the major north/south road routes [in and out of Wantage] is being worked on at any one time, so that the area does not become totally gridlocked with conflicting diversions.”

The MP was told a “great deal” more work may take place off-site, and Network Rail will also consider 24-hour working at key routes.