HC Deb 07 February 1985 vol 72 cc629-30W
Mr. Lawler

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will announce the allocation of funds for derelict land reclamation in 1985–86; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

The expenditure provided for derelict land reclamation in 1985–86 is £76.4 million compared with £74 million this year and only £12 million in 1974–75.

Schemes approved so far in 1984–85 will lead to the reclamation of some 1,400 hectares. About 65 per cent. of this land will be used subsequently for housing, industry or commerce. One of our main objectives is to involve the private sector in reclamation especially in towns and cities. To that end we instituted in 1982–83 a system of "category A" projects, whereby schemes where a developer is in firm prospect receive priority funding. There have, in the early years, been difficulties in bringing such schemes to fruition but DLG expenditure on new category A projects has risen from £8.3 million in 1983–84 to an anticipated £9.1 million this year. I intend to allocate up to £12 million to such schemes next year. Together with about £9 million carried forward for ongoing projects, the provision for category A schemes totals almost £21 million in 1985–86.

Money is also available for the private sector and nationalised industries to undertake reclamation on their own behalf without the involvement of the local authority. I am allocating £5 million for such schemes next year, of which about £2 million will be accounted for by projects which have already been approved.

I have allocated over £44 million to category B schemes where there is no specific developer in prospect. Of this, about half is for continuing projects, including such major schemes as those reclaiming the former Consett and Corby steelworks and Workington ironworks. The remaining £22 million is available for new starts. I have set aside almost £9 million of this for new projects in special programmes to which we have a long-standing commitment, somewhat more than last year. These include groundwork projects, which tackle dereliction in the urban fringes in the north-west, the reclamation of coal tips following the CENE report, solving the problems created by limestone subsidence in the Black Country and reclaiming derelict sites for garden festivals, in Stoke in 1986 and Gateshead in 1990. Of the remaining £13 million for new starts, at least £5 million will be spent on projects which will definitely result in private industrial or housing development, even though there is as yet no specific developer associated with the scheme. Finally, as last year there is a further special allocation of £6 million for reclamation on Merseyside.