HC Deb 20 July 1950 vol 477 cc2473-4
53. Mr. Peter Smithers

asked the Minister of Agriculture how much land has been brought under cultivation as a result of the grubbing of hedges, windbreaks and copses and the filling in of chalk pits on the Ministry of Agriculture Experimental Farm at Martyr Worthy; and what has been the cost of these operations.

Mr. T. Williams

Sixteen acres have been cleared for cultivation at a net cost of approximately £50 per acre. Apart from providing more land for the work of the Centre a new and more scientific layout of fields has been made possible, and vermin, being denied cover, are easier to control. Both these points are of special importance to the experimental work which is to be undertaken.

Mr. Smithers

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that vermin do not need any cover in my division?

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Presumably this experimental farm is meant to be an example, but can the right hon. Gentleman say where, when they take away the hedges, copses and windbreaks, the birds which eat the vermin will go to lay their eggs?

General Sir George Jeffreys

Is the Minister aware that the filling in of chalk pits is an extremely uneconomical proceeding, and that an enormous amount of material and labour is necessary for a very small return in the way of cultivated land?

Mr. Williams

We are satisfied that, for experimental purposes, this scheme has been well worth while.