HC Deb 15 June 1999 vol 333 c154
17. Mr. Harold Best (Leeds, North-West)

If he will report on progress on the creation of a national land use database, with particular reference to Yorkshire and Humberside. [85795]

The Minister for the Regions, Regeneration and Planning (Mr. Richard Caborn)

Provisional results from the first phase of the national land use database were published on 20 May. They show an estimated 33,000 hectares of previously developed vacant and derelict land in England in 1998, of which about 6,500 hectares was in Yorkshire and Humberside. More detailed results are available in a Government Statistical Service information bulletin, a copy of which has been placed in the Library. My Department will work with local authorities and others to develop a system to keep the information up to date and to expand the scope of the database to encompass all land uses.

Mr. Best

Does my right hon. Friend agree that local authorities should be advised about the need to ensure that the land bank is made available as rapidly as possible, rather than using green-field sites?

Mr. Caborn

That is a decision for the local authorities, although there is nothing constraining them. At least when this Government came to power we got the basic statistics right and found out how much brown-field land was available for building—that is what the database is all about. Unfortunately, it was a somewhat fatuous debate when the Conservatives were in power, because they did not have that basic information to hand for the local authorities.