§ Mr. Gordon Prentice
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent advice he has given to the(a) SRA and (b) planning authorities concerning the safeguarding of disused railway track beds. 
§ Mr. Jamieson
The Directions and Guidance the Secretary of State has issued to the Strategic Rail Authority require the Authority, when considering the disposal of land (including disused trackbeds), to have regard to the sites' transport potential and to avoid taking a short-term view. The Authority should look to the rail industry and local authorities to acquire sites with rail potential, but if these bodies do not purchase sites the Authority should consider whether they should be retained for rail use at a later date. The "Planning Policy Guidance Note 13: Transport", issued to Local Planning Authorities, states that local authorities should identify, and protect sites and routes, both existing and potential, which could be critical in developing infrastructure for the movement of freight.