HC Deb 23 March 1987 vol 113 c8
8. Mr. Raffan

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy not to sell Swndwr farm, Northop, to British Coal for opencast mining; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

No. My right hon. Friend's general policy is to dispose of land surplus to highway requirements on the open market, subject to the advice of the district valuer. No land at Swndwr farm is yet available for disposal.

Mr. Raffan

Does my hon. Friend agree that the sale of any part of Swndwr land to British Coal would prejudice my right hon. Friend's position in relation to British Coal's forthcoming planning application for opencast coal extraction at Pont Einion? Will he assure the House that when it has been established what part of Swndwr farm is surplus to highway requirements, that surplus land will not be sold to British Coal?

Mr. Roberts

I cannot give my hon. Friend that assurance. The Department is not negotiating the sale of any part of Swndwr farm to British Coal, so his request is superfluous.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Does the Minister recall that, some time ago, we accused the Secretary of State of allowing opencast mining to take place anywhere other than in Pembroke? In view of the question asked by the hon. Member for Delyn (Mr. Raffan), I wonder whether Delyn is also to be in the exclusion zone, and whether the hon. Gentleman is seeking another election bribe.

Mr. Roberts

I do not think that that question is worthy of answer. My hon. Friend's question related specifically to Swndwr farm near Northop.