HC Deb 01 February 1982 vol 17 cc43-4W
Mr. Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether the rate of reclamation of colliery spoil areas is keeping pace with the current demand for and use of such areas;

(2) what is the area of land designated for colliery spoil in each region at present; and how this compares with the projected position in 10 years time.

Mr. Giles Shaw

The area of spoil heaps reclaimed between 1974 and 1978, the latest year for which figures are available, appears below. The figures include all spoil heaps (coal, ironstone, limestone, etc) as those for colliery spoil alone are unavailable. Details of the area of spoil land which remains to be reclaimed will not be available until the completion of the derelict land survey later this year. Reclamation data in Wales is a matter for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Wales and the Welsh Development Agency.

The rate of reclamation of derelict land is largely determined by the funds available. The programme for 1982–83 is to be increased by about 20 per cent.

Information on demand for and use of colliery spoil sites and on land designated for colliery spoil is not readily available.

Spoil Heaps
Region Land
(England) reclaimed
Northern 886
North-West 398
Yorkshire and Humberside 626
East Midlands 458
West Midlands 378
South-West 6
South-East and London 31
Total 2,783

Mr. Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he accepts the view contained in the report of the Commission on Energy and the Environment, "Coal and the Environment", that there may not be sufficient land available to accommodate new colliery spoil in an acceptable manner; and what action he proposes to take to ensure that additional relevant problems are avoided.

Mr. Giles Shaw

My right hon. Friend agrees with the commission that continued tipping of spoil will pose major environmental problems with significant implications for land use. The Government are at present considering their response to the CENE report, including alternative ways of tackling the problem.