HC Deb 19 November 1917 vol 99 cc844-5
26. Mr W. THORNE

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether, in view of the world shortage of food foreshadowed by him, he will state what steps have been taken or it is proposed to take to reclaim the waste lands in the United Kingdom for the purpose of increased food production; whether his attention has been drawn to the successful experiment in the neighbourhood of Scarborough in bringing into a state of productivity large tracts of moorland; and whether steps will be taken to follow this example on a more extensive scale?


The Board of Agriculture have had under consideration a number of schemes for the reclamation of waste lands in the United Kingdom. Such schemes involve a large expenditure of labour and materials in preparing the land for cultivation, and, apart from the risk of failure, cropping can rarely be attempted until the second year. Having in view the great shortage of men, petrol, manures, and machinery, the Board consider that in the present emergency a greater production of food will be attained by concentrating the resources available on land which is already cultivated as grass or arable. With the exception of one or two schemes still under consideration, the Board have, therefore, reluctantly postponed projects of land reclamation. The Board are aware of the valuable experiments in moorland reclamation in the neighbourhood of Scarborough, but in spite of the considerable success that has been achieved they feel bound, for the reasons already given, to regard any large extension of such experiments as impracticable in the present circumstances.

Forward to