§ 5. Mr. Sydney Chapman
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the acreage of derelict land in England and Wales on 1st January 1973; how this figure compares 439 with 1st January 1971 and 1st January 1972; and how many acres of derelict land were utilised or developed in 1971 and 1972 respectively.
§ Mr. Graham Page
Land in England justifying treatment at the end of 1970 and 1971 amounted to 63,035 acres and 64,253 acres respectively. A total of 4,792 acres was reclaimed during 1971. Reclamation figures for 1972, which must affect any estimate of the extent of derelict land at the end of 1972, are not yet available. Figures for Wales are matters for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
§ Mr. Chapman
In view of the critical importance of utilising derelict land and of reclaiming land wherever possible for urban use, will my right hon. Friend consider the possibility of strengthening the administration of the section of his Department which deals with derelict land so that it may give technical advice to local authorities as well as merely collate and collect information concerning the acreage of such land?
§ Mr. Page
My Department is always ready and willing to give such advice as local authorities request, but local authorities are getting on with the job pretty well. We issued only a fortnight ago circular No. 7/73 which is a new survey of derelict land. We realise that the information we were getting was insufficient, and my hon. Friend will find in that document details of derelict land which needs to be reclaimed at an early date.
§ Mr. Blenkinsop
Will that survey attempt a redefinition of the term "derelict land", because in the past many people have felt that a great deal of such land was not included in official records?
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that much land which in the past rightly attracted refusal of planning permission because of under- 440 ground workings should now be reconsidered in view of the new techniques which make it possible, with concrete ramps and other devices, to build on land which was not considered safe when original approval was refused?