HC Deb 20 May 1895 vol 33 c1609
MR. J. T. BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether it is proposed to take 15,000 men into the New Forest this autumn to manœuvre there for three weeks; if so, whether any special precautions will be taken to prevent such an occupation of the forest from endangering the old woods and impairing the natural beauty of the forest, which Parliament has declared to be especially worthy of preservation for the national enjoyment, and also to protect the forest from the dangers which will arise this year owing to the existence of large quantities of heather, killed by the long frost, and thus left in a highly inflammable condition; whether the operations of the forces will seriously interfere with the roam of the commoners' cattle, and thus injure the large class of small stock farmers for which the district is noted; and whether, in view of the fact that there are in other parts, e.g., in Essex, wide tracts of country going out of cultivation, where a nominal payment in respect of the manœuvres would be a boon to the distressed agriculturists, he will reconsider the intention to hold manœuvres in the New Forest?

MAJOR RASCH (Essex, S. E.)

asked whether there were not in Essex thousands of derelict acres available for the operations?


It is proposed to take a force this year to the New Forest for manœuvres, which will last a short time. Every precaution will be taken to prevent damage to the forest and to protect the interests of the commoners. The preparations are far advanced, and the substitution of another locality would be very inconvenient. The locality referred to by the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite is not, I believe, viewed with favour by the authorities for this purpose. I see no reason to reconsider the proposal I am further informed by a very high authority that the inhabitants of the New Forest would view with something like consternation any proposal to check the proceedings.