HC Deb 29 July 1942 vol 382 cc515-6
The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. R. S. Hudson)

The Government have asked the public to avoid unnecessary travelling, and this year the majority of workers will be taking their holidays at home. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service is anxious that, in the interests of production, workers should obtain the maximum benefit from the short holidays they will have at home, and it is important that ample facilities for outdoor recreation should be available within easy reach of industrial towns. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I are therefore appealing to owners of moor and mountain land and other suitable areas to allow the public to have reasonable access to their property wherever this is possible during the present holiday season. We feel sure that landowners will respond readily to this request. We hope too that holidaymakers will show their appreciation by taking special care not to do damage, for instance, to fences, walls or ditches, on property which they may be permitted to use for walking, cycling, camping or other recreational purpose, and in particular to avoid any damage to growing crops or to the harvest.

Mr. Mathers

Will the War Office be asked to co-operate as far as possible in this commendable effort?

Mr. Mander

In the event of access to mountains under the terms the right hon. Gentleman has suggested being unreasonably withheld, will he consider the possibility of using compulsory powers?

Mr. Hudson

No, Sir. We think this is a preferable procedure.

Mrs. Hardie

How is it possible to get from the industrial areas to the moors and mountains without travelling by train or coach?

Mr. Hudson

I hope by walking or cycling.

Mr. Shinwell

Why is the right hon. Gentleman reluctant to use compulsory powers? Does he not know that that is the declared policy of the Government?

Mr. Mathers

Will the Government take into account the possibility of co-operation by the War Office where that can be secured without causing difficulty?

Mr. Hudson

I am not quite clear what point the hon. Member has in mind. Perhaps he will drop me a note, and I. will see what can be done.

Sir R. W. Smith

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the law of trespass in Scotland is quite different from that in England and that there has never been any difficulty in having access to rough ground for recreation?