Financial assistance by way of Government grants is available to local authorities for the acquisition, clearance and after treatment of derelict land. The rate of grant is 85 per cent. in the development area and 75 per cent. in the intermediate area.
Is the hon. Gentleman's Department permitted to initiate schemes for the restoration of places despoiled by coalmining operatioin? If so, will he consider drawing up a scheme to restore those parts of the parish of Dyffryn Cellwen, which includes the villages of Ban-wen and Onllwyn, which bear heavy scars of despoliation due to mining operations?
I am aware that that part of South Wales in the hon. Gentleman's constituency has had to bear a considerable amount of opencast working. My officials in the Derelict Land Unit are always ready and willing to provide local authorities with expert advice in preparing schemes, and this one is no exception.
Will the hon. Gentleman also confirm that new schemes arc about to be started in that area which will virtually cover the whole area? Will he further try to persuade the Government to introduce legislation whereby the 15 per cent. that is now required to be found by local authorities will be found by the National Coal Board or any other such body?
The removal of all forms of dereliction is important. Is it true that the funds available for Operation Eyesore have been exhausted? If so, will my hon. Friend look at the matter again and see whether the scheme can be extended?