§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if his letter of 3 April 1996 to the director general of the House Builders Federation constitutes Government policy on exemptions to the landfill tax; to what extent the policies in that statement were implemented in the Landfill Tax (Contaminated Land) Order 1996; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Oppenheim
[holding answer 30 January 1997]: I assume that the letter to which my hon. Friend refers is the one written by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory) when he was Paymaster General. In paragraph 3 of the letter, my right hon. Friend saidWe now intend to provide the exemption for waste from the clearance of historically contaminated land where clearance of all or part of the contamination is necessary to allow the land to be used for the intended purpose when the development or work on the land is complete. The exemption will apply to waste arising from the reclamation of the land, but current polluters will not be able to benefit from it.
He went on to say in paragraph 5You suggest that the exemption should be widened to cover clay and other material that has to be removed from high density urban infill sites. I should first of all say that if a site is historically contaminated it is intended that all of the waste removed and disposed of to landfill will be exempt under our proposed exemption, not just that which is contaminated.
This letter sets our Government policy that, to qualify for the exemption, such wastes would need to arise from a reclamation which facilitates development of the land and removes the potential for the pollutants to cause harm. The removal of the pollutants must be necessary for the development to proceed and any activity that gave rise to the pollutants must have ceased. Where these criteria are met, then all wastes, whether polluted or not, arising from the reclamation would qualify for the exemption. This policy is reflected in the Landfill Tax (Contaminated Land) Order 1996. Copies of the letter have been placed in the Library.