§ Mr. Morley
[holding answer 10 July 2002]: MAFF/DEFRA negotiated a six year lease for the Widdrington mass burial site, commencing 31 March 2001. In addition to a basic rent for the occupation of the site, since the area is zoned for future coal extraction, a further premium of £300,000 was paid for sterilised coal deposits.
This sum was determined by the local Mineral Valuer of the Valuation Office Agency in negotiation with UK Coal and was based on the area of land-take used exclusively by MAFF/DEFRA for carcase disposal and a calculation of the likely tonnage of coal that could have expected to be mined from the area.
The £165,000 referred to in the NAO Report relates to the purchase of Tow Law mass burial site. When MAFF/DEFRA acquired the site, it paid the negotiated purchase price. However, there was in the deeds a restrictive covenant which limited use of the site to open cast mining or agriculture. If any other use was made of the land, the former owners, in this case the Coal Authority, would have to be paid a clawback of 50 per cent. of the increase in the value of the site. The increase was calculated by taking the difference between the indexed sale price achieved by the Authority and deducting this from the price paid by DEFRA, and dividing the result by 2, giving £165k.1129W
§ Mr. Morley
[holding answer 10 July 2002]: No compensation or disturbance payments have been made to businesses in the Widdrington area of Northumberland in respect of the carcase burial site there.