HC Deb 24 April 1941 vol 371 cc254-6
45. Mr. Bartlett

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether war emergency agricultural committees have the necessary authority to order the ploughing up of deer parks or their use as grazing land for cattle?

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. R. S. Hudson)

Yes, Sir, subject to my consent to any direction for the land to be ploughed.

Mr. Bartlett

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is still a certain number of committees which apparently are unaware of this power, and will he see that they are kept better informed, as they are under the impression that they cannot do anything in this matter?

Mr. Hudson

If my hon. Friend will be kind enough to give me the names of any such committees, I shall be glad to look into the matter.

Mr. Granville

In the case of large landowners and local authorities not carrying out these Regulations, does my right hon. Friend dispossess them as in the case of small cultivators?

Mr. Hudson

Yes, Sir, if they refuse to carry out their duties.

Mr. de Rothschild

What is the acreage of deer parks in this country?

Mr. Hudson

I cannot say without notice.

48. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the ploughing up of suitable waste common land, especially in Wales, has been prevented in many cases by the difficulty of getting approval from the lord of the manor, and that county agricultural committees have not been active in overcoming this difficulty; and whether he will take steps to overcome such difficulties?

Mr. Hudson

I am not aware of the difficulty referred to, especially as a lord of the manor would ordinarily have no power to approve the ploughing of common land. County war agricultural executive committees have power, with my consent, to take possession of such land under Defence Regulation 51 and to arrange for its cultivation as a war-time measure, and in numerous instances this power has in fact been exercised.

Brigadier-General Clifton Brown

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this refers not only to Wales, but to waste common lands in Sussex, Surrey and Berkshire, and cannot he take some steps to get them ploughed up?

Mr. Hudson

The question was discussed in a recent Debate, and I said then that on balance I thought the available supplies of fertilisers, labour and machinery were better employed in improving existing land than in bringing new land under cultivation. In 34 cases in England commons have been ploughed up.

Mr. Price

Does not the question of common grazing rights very often complicate the issue?

Mr. Hudson

Very often, and even in those cases we have often succeeded in getting over the difficulties.

Forward to