HC Deb 10 June 1969 vol 784 cc1220-1
43. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Minister of Power whether he will make a statement on his policy regarding the recommendations of the Hunt Committee that the National Coal Board's Opencast Executive should be used as the basis for a land reclamation agency.

Mr. Freeson

This is a matter primarily for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government, whose position was explained by the Minister for Planning and Land in a reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) on 6th May [Vol. 783, c. 53]. The Opencast Executive is indeed admirably suited to undertake land reclamation, and I hope that more local authorities will call on its expertise and services.

Mr. Blenkinsop

I welcome that reply, but does not my hon. Friend agree that it is necessary to stress the importance of a national land reclamation agency and the great value of the work done by the Opencast Executive?

Mr. Freeson

I certainly agree, as I have just said, and as I have said previously. The Opencast Executive is well suited to undertake this kind of work, and I hope that it wil be called upon to do more work of this kind; but this is a matter essentially for the Minister of Housing and Local Government.

Mr. Hooley

Will my hon. Friend initiate discussion with that Ministry to make rapid progress in this matter in view of the great importance laid upon it by the Hunt Committee?

Mr. Freeson

I am in touch with the National Coal Board on their responsibility in this, and I would like to leave it at that for the moment.