HC Deb 12 April 1978 vol 947 cc1369-70
3. Mr. John Evans

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what new initiatives he intends taking to encourage local authorities to reclaim derelict land.

Mr. Shore

I am giving serious consideration both to how we can improve the ways in which we tackle the problem of derelict land, especially in inner city areas, and—together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry—to the possible extension of the list of derelict land clearance areas—to which 100 per cent. grants are made available. I have made a special allocation of £4 million in the current year for the reclamation of derelict land in inner cities.

Mr. Evans

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that reply. Will he confirm that there is plenty of money available from central Government for local authorities in all the assisted areas for the purpose of clearing derelict land? Will he confirm that there is no hold-up in Whitehall with any confirmations of schemes? Does he agree that it really is up to local authorities to get on with this job and clear up this eyesore on the face of North-Western England?

Mr. Shore

I am not sure that I could say that there is plenty of money available. We still have a very major problem with derelict land and reclamation. We must proceed with it and get rid of the worst areas as quickly as we can. But it is true that there has not been the take-up in, I think, the last two years of the amounts that have been allocated. I very much hope that authorities will come forward with their programmes this year.

Mr. Arthur Jones

On the question of restoration of mineral workings generally, is consideration still being given to the advisability of the introduction of restoration funds, such as for the iron ore workings, in order that some surety can be brought to the restoration of mineral workings, both those existing and those for which planning permission will be forthcoming in the future?

Mr. Shore

The question of mineral workings is a complex one, on which we have had a major report. That is still being studied in the Department, but I will consider the hon. Gentleman's question and be in touch with him later.

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