To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what circular or communication he has made to local authorities concerning future registration of public sector land; what categories of existing use such proposals cover; and for what purpose.
My Department issued on 12 September a consultation paper which invited the comments of the local authority associations and others interested on our proposals for encouraging the use of vacant public sector land. One of the proposals was for a statutory duty on local authorities and other public sector bodies to keep, and make accessible to the public, registers of their unused and underused land on a broadly similar basis to those requested under the code of practice issued in August 1989. Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Library. The responses are now being considered.Part VIII of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 places a duty on local authorities to keep a register of potentially contaminated land in their areas whether publicly or privately owned. Copies of a report on the methodology for identifying such land, "Pilot Survey of Potentially Contaminated Land in Cheshire", were sent to all local authorities in July.