HC Deb 01 May 1906 vol 156 cc413-4
MR. COWAN (Surrey, Guildford)

I beg to ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether he is aware that large areas in Ashdown Forest have recently been devastated by incendiary fires; and whether, having regard to the frequency of these fires and to the injury they are causing to one of the largest and most beautiful tracts of common land within easy access of the metropolis, he will take steps to induce or enable the Conservators of Ashdown Forest, by legislation or otherwise, to more efficiently discharge their duty of preserving it from wanton damage.

MR. J. A. PEASE (Essex, Saffron Walden)

My hon. friend has asked me to answer the Question. No communications on this subject have been received, and the Board of Agriculture have no jurisdiction in the matter. The control of the forest is vested in the conservators, who have ample power under the award to make by-laws for the prevention of incendiary fires. The hon. Member for South Somerset asks me to say that he will be glad to supply my hon. friend with a copy of the by-law at present in force on the subject. I may add that the annual election of four of the conservators gives an opportunity to the commoners to enforce their views if they think the precautions already taken are insufficient.