asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the progress to date of the Stoke garden festival.
The National Garden Festival 1986 is being held on the site of the former Shelton steelworks in Stoke-on-Trent. Her Majesty the Queen declared the festival open on 8 May and it closes to the public on 26 October. The site was reclaimed with derelict land grant from my Department. Organisation of the festival is in the hands of a company established for that purpose by my Department, the City of Stoke-on-Trent district council and Staffordshire county council. Capital funding of £12·5 million for the festival has been provided by these bodies, together with £5 million raised as sponsorship from industrial and commercial firms, public and voluntary agencies. Revenue costs are being met by the two local authorities, and the Manpower Services Commission's Community Programme is making a major contribution.Since the Festival opened, nearly 500,000 visitors have been received, in spite of adverse weather during May and the first half of June. The national garden festival is a tribute to the energy and ingenuity with which north Staffordshire and the midlands generally have responded to the challenge of mounting the United Kingdom's premier visitor attraction for 1986. As the second in the series of national garden festivals which the Government has announced, NGF 86 is well worth a visit, and I commend it to my hon. Friend and all hon. Members.