HC Deb 31 July 1998 vol 317 c640W
Helen Jackson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how the BR board are to conduct their review of surplus land. [54943]

Ms Glenda Jackson

The Government announced in the White Paper "A New Deal For Transport: Better for Everyone" that the British Railways Board was suspending land sales while it conducted an audit of the remaining sites. These amount to some 1,200, with a book value of about £137 million.

The Board will immediately enter into discussions with key players in the rail industry on the latter's plans for the future. It will report to the Government, as the review progresses, on sites which in the light of these discussions appear to the Board to have a realistic prospect of use for transport purposes in the foreseeable future, so that they may in due course be offered for sale to Railtrack, the rail businesses, other transport operators and relevant local authorities at open market value.

Sites which appear to the Board to have no realistic use for transport purposes in the foreseeable future will be put on sale, but local authorities and the rail industry will be given at least two months notice of the intention to sell any site in the category so that they will still have full opportunity to bid for it. The Board will consider sympathetically any request to delay the sale of such a site where it can be shown that a transport use is already under active consideration.

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