HC Deb 01 May 1972 vol 836 cc19-20
25. Mr. Nicholas Edwards

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the present position on derelict land clearance in Wales; whether he is satisfied with progress; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

The present situation is satisfactory and future prospects are encouraging. Since its inception, the Welsh Office Derelict Land Unit has approved over 150 schemes covering nearly 4,000 acres for reclamation. Gross cost of these works is £7.5 million and grant of £5.8 million has been authorised. Additionally, Welsh local authorities are firmly committed to an ambitious forward programme.

Mr. Edwards

Is my hon. Friend satisfied that this rate of progress can be maintained? How does our record compare with that of the Labour Government?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

The record of the previous Administration virtually started in 1967, with the starting of the Derelict Land Unit. Since then the amount of land for reclamation has increased year by year. I assure my hon. Friend that the future picture is very good indeed.

Mr. George Thomas

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we welcome the way in which the expansion of the work of the Derelict Land Unit is being undertaken but that until the last Administration there had been no effort at all at clearing derelict land in Wales and that the setting up of the unit is something of which we are particularly proud?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

I have never sought to deny the fact that the setting up of the unit was a wise step. We have carried it on and the House will accept that we have improved upon what it had done.