HC Deb 24 July 2002 vol 389 c1162W
Mr. Gareth Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture. Media and Sport when the Playing Fields Monitoring Group will be publishing statistical information concerning playing fields. [73447]

Tessa Jowell

The Playing Fields Monitoring Group has today published for the first time statistics which clearly show that Government policy is already protecting playing fields that schools and local communities need. The statistics are available from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's website at: www.culture.gov.uk/sport/

Out of 875 planning applications to change the use of playing fields referred to Sport England in 2000–01, only 39 which were deemed to represent a net detriment to sport were approved. Indeed, 92 per cent. of the 1,765 playing field planning applications referred to Sport England over the last two years were either not detrimental to sport or did not proceed—ensuring that sport is the winner in the vast majority of cases.

This Government is committed to the protection of playing fields and will continue to look closely at how current protective measures are working as well as publishing figures through the DCMS Playing Fields Monitoring Group. I should like to pay tribute to the assistance that the Central Council of Physical Recreation and the National Playing Fields Association are providing to the work of the Group.