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Land: Sales

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 22 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) under what circumstances Defence Estates does not follow the Treasury Guidelines (Green Book) when disposing of (a) sites and (b) contaminated sites; and if he will make a statement; (128353)

(2) at what level in his Department decisions are made about whether or not to apply the Treasury Guidelines (Green Book) to disposals of contaminated land.

In common with all other Government Departments, the MOD is bound by the Treasury Guidelines as set out in Government Accounting, the Green Book and the accompanying Guide for the Disposal of Surplus Property published by the Office of Government Commerce. These will always be followed unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example, when it has been decided to gift a property, which would require individual approval by an appropriate authority.

The Chief Executive of Defence Estates (DE), the Ministry of Defence (MOD) agency responsible for the defence estate, has full authority to act within the delegated authority from the MOD Accounting Officer in the disposal of land and buildings.

In the case of contaminated land, it is normal, unless the land is remediated by the Ministry of Defence, to sell with the benefit of a Land Quality Assessment (LQA) and therefore transfer the risk to the private sector. The LQA will usually include an evaluation of the potential types and level of contamination, together with a Collateral Warranty, which should allow prospective purchasers to make an informed bid.