HC Deb 26 January 1983 vol 35 cc465-6W
Mr. David Watkins

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will monitor the implementation of land reclamation schemes begun and funded after his recent appeal to local authorities to undertake such schemes; and if he will report to the House as soon as possible after the current financial year;

(2) what proportion of additional funds given for land reclamation schemes undertaken by local authorities may be carried forward into the forthcoming financial year in the event of planned schemes not being completed before the end of the current financial year;

(3) what advice he has given local authorities about the absorption of revenue implications consequent upon any successful application for additional funds for the purposes of land reclamation:

(4) what applications have been made by local authorities in England and Wales for additional land reclamation funds; and to what extent the approved applications absorb the underspend recently identified by his Department;

(5) if he will list by region, the proportion of applications by local authorities for additional land reclamation funds that involved participation with the private sector; and what proportion of approved applications involved similar participation.

Mr. Giles Shaw

More than 570 applications have so far been made by local authorities in England for additional funds for land reclamation in response to the invitation issued to them last October to undertake a supplementary programme of works which would reduce their underspending. Of these, 560 applications have been approved in principle and are expected to account for some £30 million of the total identified underspend.

The proportion by region both of total applications made and of those approved which involve subsequent development by the private sector is North 1 per cent. (two applications), North-West 5 per cent. (14 applications), West Midlands 8 per cent. (7 applications), Yorkshire and Humberside 6 per cent. (one application) and other regions nil. Except for these all applications have been approved on the understanding that the additional funds are for expenditure in the current financial year and that only minimal carryover will be allowed into the next financial year.

In offering additional capital allocations for 1982–83 the Government have placed emphasis on the opportunities for derelict land reclamation because such work can usually be undertaken with fewer direct revenue consequences than many other capital schemes. Authorities have been told that such revenue consequences as there are must be absorbed without amendment to targets or grant related expenditure assessments.

The Department is monitoring progress and a report will be made to the House in due course.