Derelict and Contaminated Land

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th June 1996.

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Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd , Cynon Valley 12:00 am, 17th June 1996

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on (a) derelict and (b) contaminated land in (i) Cynon Valley and (ii) Wales. [31659]

Photo of Mr Gwilym Jones Mr Gwilym Jones , Cardiff North

The Government's policy on contaminated land in England and Wales is set out in the document, "Framework for Contaminated Land", which was published in November 1994. Since 1979, the Government have committed some £300 million to reclaiming derelict land in Wales, including about £17.5 million in Cynon Valley.

Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd , Cynon Valley

The Minister is aware of the great concern in the Cynon Valley about the toxic waste left dumped at the village of Abercwmboi after the closure of the Furnacite plant. Ironically, the plant was closed because of environmental considerations, yet its toxic waste has been dumped on the doorsteps of those who lost their jobs when the works shut. People want a permanent solution to the problem, not the temporary one that the Welsh Development Agency is offering. Will he agree to a permanent solution, and will he make the necessary money available to the WDA?

Photo of Mr Gwilym Jones Mr Gwilym Jones , Cardiff North

As the hon. Lady knows, the matter cannot proceed until all the necessary permissions have been obtained. It is being studied by her local authority, which, in tandem with the Welsh Development Agency, is considering the consultants' reports. I know that the agency is satisfied that its proposals are appropriate, satisfactory and cost-effective.

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands Mr Ted Rowlands , Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney

Is the Minister aware that the WDA is making serious cuts in its derelict land reclamation programme? Deep navigation and the Taff Merthyr site in my community could cause serious delays in the development of sites. Given the sad record of closures as a result of Government decisions, such development is vital. Will he, through the Secretary of State, ensure that the agency's capital budget is refinanced? The Secretary of State's predecessor promised that, if property sales did not produce returns, the Government would make up the difference in the budget—thereby restoring the agency's land reclamation programme.

Photo of Mr Gwilym Jones Mr Gwilym Jones , Cardiff North

We will naturally consider future years in the light of the situation then prevailing. For the current year, the WDA has a budget of £14 million for land reclamation, and it is determined to maintain that budget.