20. Mr. McKie
asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make a statement regarding the proposal to acquire permanently the 5,000-acre tank training ground at Netherlaw, near Kirkcudbright.
§ Mr. J. Freeman
The proposal to acquire permanently new land in this area is limited to a fraction of the area mentioned in the Question; the remainder of the training area is already owned by my Department. The proposal is at present under examination by the Interdepartmental Committee on Service Land Requirements.
Is the hon Gentleman aware that his information regarding the ownership of the land is incorrect, that about 1,000 acres of it is some of the best agricultural land in Scotland, and that great public indignation has been aroused, in view of the pledge of the Coalition Government to restore it as soon as possible? Will he appreciate the necessity of coming to a decision as soon as possible, and will he hear all interested parties?
§ Mr. Stokes
Can my hon. Friend assure the House that, having got this land, he has some decent tanks with which to train the men?