HC Deb 20 February 1991 vol 186 cc169-70W
Mr. Hardy

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to encourage the use of colliery spoil for infilling and other civil engineering projects and to consult those officials of British Coat who are qualified to provide assessment of such matters.

Mr. Yeo

My Department already encourages alternative uses of colliery spoil where practicable, environmentally acceptable and economically viable. Circular 20/87, issued in conjuction with the Department of Transport and the Welsh Office, advises highway authorities to inform the local planning authorities and waste producer of road schemes at an early stage, so that information on waste materials as potential sources of fill can be incorporated into the instructions for tenderers. The Government also set aside £2.5 million to fund a number of colliery-spoil disposal demonstration schemes so that the practical, environmental and economic aspects of utilising colliery spoil for engineered fill and civil engineering projects could be investigated. More generally, I am concerned that potentially valuable waste materials, including colliery spoil, are under-utilised and my Department has commissioned research to appraise their occurrence and use. This study is looking at the physical and economic constraints to their greater utilisation and will identify ways in which these could be overcome. The research is being carried out in full consultation with officials at British Coal.