HC Deb 06 March 1969 vol 779 cc651-2
12. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what study he has made of an all-weather material as a surface for pitches, enabling schools to continue playing school foot-ball matches in adverse conditions, details of which have been sent to him; and what action he proposes to take.

Mr. Denis Howell

The cost of the material in question is prohibitive for school use. All-weather alternatives to grass pitches which can be laid out at reasonable cost are described in Building Bulletin 28 Playing Fields and Hard Surface Areas, and my Department keeps itself informed about promising new developments.

Mr. Dalyell

What exactly is the policy towards both all-weather facilities and floodlit facilities in schools?

Mr. Howell

The policy of the Department is very much to encourage all-weather playing surfaces. I should like to see some part of all playing fields with all-weather facilities. We also favour a policy of floodlighting, particularly in view of the value of this during the winter months.

Mr. Charles Morrison

While I apprereciate that the cost of some of this work may be prohibitive, has the Department instigated its own research into the subject?

Mr. Howell

The hon. Gentleman is correct. The figures are rather overwhelming and we are still recovering from the results of our first examination. It costs £150 for a seeded football pitch, £11,000 for an all-weather pitch—we want to encourage this type of facility—and £100,000 to £140,000 for the sort of pitch to which my hon. Friend has drawn attention.