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British Coal Land In Use For Sport And Recreation

Volume 571: debated on Wednesday 1 May 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:(a) what discussions have taken place between the Department of Trade and Industry and British Coal regarding the future of recreational sites in coalfield communities; and to what extent the Coal Industry Social Welfare and the National Playing Fields Associations have been involved; and (b) what guarantees of protection can be given to future owners of the sites regarding provisions for indemnity against historical contamination.

My department has been engaged in detailed discussion with British Coal about the best means of achieving the Government's objective that British Coal land in active use for sport and recreation will be retained for those purposes. Both the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation and the National Playing Fields Association have participated actively in those discussions as prospective holders of the freeholds.British Coal sought to address concerns about land contamination by careful consideration of the legal mechanism for any transfer of ownership, by commissioning environmental research and by giving those bodies the option of excluding particular sites.