§ Mr. Spring
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, pursuant to his answer of 13 July 1999,Official Report, column 167, on school playing fields, what was the research carried out by the Central Council of Physical Recreation which was used by his Department. 
§ Mr. Charles Clarke
The research referred to in my Answer of 13 July consisted of two national surveys carried out by the Central Council of Physical Recreation and reported in their September 1984 publication, "Sports Fields at Risk." This research found that 3,630 acres of recreational land were subject to disposal. This is equivalent to approximately 5,000 playing fields.
The research also noted that the actual number of school playing fields which have been lost to sport and recreation over the years is likely to be higher than this figure.