HC Deb 14 November 1945 vol 415 cc2094-6
11. Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he will give notice, wherever practicable, to the local authorities in Ross-shire and Inverness-shire of the Ministry's intention to vacate sites and buildings as the occasions arise, and if, priority will be given to ex-Servicemen who want to acquire suitable buildings for temporary dwellings, etc.

Mr. Strachey

We give notice of our intention to vacate sites and huts in Scotland to the Department of Health for Scotland, which keeps the local authorities informed. Where buildings suitable for temporary dwelling are disposed of, ex-Servicemen will have the same opportunities as other potential buyers.

12. Mr. Snadden

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air why the grazings of requisitioned land on Bogs of Mayne airfield, Elgin, were not first offered to the farmers from whom the land was requisitioned before being let to the present tenant.

Mr. Strachey

We have not yet decided on the future use of this airfield, and in the meantime it is let temporarily for grazing. Competitive tenders were invited from those in the district likely to be interested, including, of course, the farmers from whom parts of the area had been requisitioned.

Mr. Snadden

Is the hon. Member aware that what he has just said is quite contrary to the facts as they were given to me? When looking into this question will he give an opportunity to the farmers from whom this land was taken to offer for the rights of this grazing? My information is that they were never asked.

Mr. Strachey

I have been given definite information that they were given the same offer to tender as anyone else and that one of them actually did so; but if the hon. Member will give me the information in his possession I will be very glad to look into it.

20. Dr. Little

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether the aerodromes no longer required in Northern Ireland will be disposed of at an early date in lots for the production of food.

Mr. Strachey

We are now arranging through the Government of Northern Ireland for six airfields to be used for farming immediately. Two more will be available by the end of the year and one more a little later.

Dr. Little

Will the Under-Secretary of State assure us that he will take steps to have these aerodromes dealt with at once so that the farmers concerned can make arrangements for food to be produced in 1946?

Mr. Strachey

The first six are on offer at the moment.

34. Lieutenant-Colonel Hare

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he will take immediate steps to release aerodromes that are already earmarked for eventual agricultural use and are now vacant; and whether in doing so he will give priority to aerodromes constructed on heavy land in order that W.A.E.C.s can start winter ploughing as soon as possible and ensure that the nation will receive a food crop from them next year.

Mr. Strachey

Till the size, character and disposition of the post war Air Force is determined there cannot yet be a final choice of airfields to be permanently released. But, in consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture, who have advised on priorities, and by local arrangement we are going to use all possible airfields for farming, even if only temporarily or partially.

Lieut.-Colonel Hare

Can the hon. Gentleman give some assurance that there will be a very early decision, especially in connection with aerodromes which are on heavy land, because unless an early decision is given it will be impossible to obtain any crops before next winter?

Mr. Strachey

I think an early decision can be given about their temporary use for agricultural purposes, but a final decision cannot be given yet.

Lieut.-Colonel Hare

Can the hon. Gentleman give an assurance to the House now that the temporary decisions will be given as quickly as possible?

Mr. Strachey

Yes, Sir, they are being given one after another.

Mr. Turton

Will the aerodromes be offered first to the previous tenants?

Mr. Strachey

No, Sir; I think the practice is to offer them for public tender for agricultural purposes.

Mr. Eden

Is that really correct? Surelythat is not done when the land has been requisitioned?

Mr. Strachey

I should require notice of that question.