Mr. John Mark Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps are taken to ensure that local authorities list in the land registers all the land which they are obliged to register; what is his estimate of the extent to which local authorities are understating their land holdings in the land registers at present; and what information he has as to regional variations in such understating of land holdings.
§ Mr. John Patten
Under part X of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980, registration of unused and under-used land is carried out by the Secretary of State and it is he who decides whether or not land meets the conditions for registration laid down in section 95(2) of the Act. All public bodies in England to which part X applies, including local authorities, have been asked to submit information about any under-used land which may be eligible for registration, and are asked periodically to review the accuracy of that information. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment proposes to introduce legislation at the earliest opportunity to strengthen his powers to require information about public bodies' under-used land, but at present the information which would enable him to estimate the extent to which local authorities understate their holdings of such land is not available.