HC Deb 08 March 1972 vol 832 cc1444-5
34. Mr. Arthur Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many acres of derelict land he expects will be restored in England during the current year; and approximately how much money will be spent thereon.

Mr. Graham Page

Estimates of reclamation in England in 1972 are being collected as part of the 1971 survey and are expected to show substantial increases. Expenditure by local authorities in 1972–73 is also expected to show a corresponding increase over their expenditure in the present financial year, which it is estimated may be £5 million. It is not yet possible to quantify these increases.

Mr. Jones

Has my hon. Friend any priorities which are applied to schemes of reclamation and improvement, and is he satisfied with the support that he is getting from local authorities?

Mr. Page

I am satisfied that there is a massive number of schemes coming forward from local authorities. There is no question of priority. Any scheme which comes forward will not be held up by finance. We are prepared to pay grant for any reclamation schemes which local authorities put forward.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Is it true that, even on the restrictive definition of derelict sites, we are still creating more dereliction than we are curing?

Mr. Page

I hope that we shall have a new definition of derelict land in the near future. A pilot survey scheme on this matter is being carried out by four counties. I hope to bring the new definition before the House shortly, so that surveys starting in 1972 will give a more realistic picture of derelict land throughout the country.