§ MR. COWAN (Surrey, Guildford)
To ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether he is aware that Lord De la Warr has lately made experimental borings in the open common land of Ashdown Forest with the view of finding and working coal and 783 iron; and whether, seeing that Ashdown Forest is a regulated common under a Provisional Order and award by the Board of Agriculture made under the Commons Act, 1876, under these circumstances, and having regard to the rights of the commoners, he will say what steps the Board propose to take in the matter.
(Answered by Sir Edward Strachey.) We have no official information on this matter and the Board have no power to intervene. The Provisional Order and award vest the management and control of Ashdown Forest in a body of thirteen conservators, one being the lord of the manor or his representative, and the remainder being elected by the commoners. It rests with the conservators to take any steps that are necessary to protect the interests of the commoners.