HC Deb 27 November 1933 vol 283 cc506-7
33. Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that a farm at Ruckland, Lincolnshire, of 600 acres, is derelict without a tenant; and what steps he proposes to take to prevent the thistles and other weeds spreading to neighbouring farms, as he has refused to allow the county council to deal with the weeds and no money can be recovered from the owner?


I am aware of the circumstances mentioned in the first part of my hon. and gallant Friend's question. In the case of unoccupied land the obligation to destroy the weeds rests on the person entitled to the occupation of the land. In case of default by such person in complying with a notice requiring him to destroy the weeds, the county agricultural committee, under powers delegated by the Minister, may execute the work and recover the cost from the person in default. Any expenditure not recovered from the defaulting occupier would fall on public funds, and I cannot authorise such work to be carried out if it is known that the cost will be irrecoverable.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

In view of the anxiety expressed by adjoining farmers, could not the Minister reconsider the matter between now and next year, when similar circumstances are likely to arise?


Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that he has powers under the Agricultural Land (Utilisation) Act?


It is not a question of powers, but of the expenditure of public money which it is impossible for me to recover.


As the right hon. Gentleman is assured that several farmers are in danger of losing a good deal of their crops, does he not think he ought to take steps to deal with these 600 acre farms?

Acreage of Onions in England and Wales and in the County of Bedford, as returned in June in each of the years 1928–1933 and in Great Britain in each of toe years 1928–1912.
1933. 1932. 1931. 1930. 1929. 1928.
Acres. Acres. Acres. Acres. Acres. Acres.
England and Wales 1,940 1,892 1,534 1,977 2,448 1,714
Scotland * 132 142 129 159 133
Great Britain 2,024 1,676 2,106 2,607 1,847
Bedfordshire 280 357 266 463 529 311
The figures for 1933 are subject to slight revision.
* Not yet available.
No information is available regarding the acreage of onions in Northern Ireland.
It was estimated in the report on the Agricultural Output of England and Wales, 1925, that about 1.500 acres of onions are polled Breen for salad use; seek g that much of this crop is sold before the annual returns are collected, a large proportion of this area does not appear in the above figures.
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