HC Deb 11 May 1950 vol 475 cc570-1
49. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will refuse Agricultural Clearance Certificates in respect of the farmlands referred to on Site Plans, M/9/551/1, The Elms, and M/9/550/1, Crundle, in the Martley rural district of the County of Worcestershire, in view of their highly productive nature.

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Thomas Williams)

If the hon. Member is referring to agricultural clearance for the purpose of trial borings, I am not prepared to withhold that clearance, subject to the acceptance of satisfactory conditions to minimise interference with food production. Should the trial borings reveal a deposit of coal that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power considers to be economically workable, application for agricultural clearance for the land required for the work of such deposits would normally follow. If and when that situation arises, the customary practice will be observed of giving the most careful consideration to all the agricultural implications of the proposals.

Mr. Nabarro

Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been drawn to the facts and circumstances revealed in the Adjournment Debate on this subject last night? In view of the precarious water supply in this district, will he now consider a refusal to grant the clearance certificate?

Mr. Williams

I see no justification for refusing to allow borings to take place but, clearly, if water is an important factor in the final determination clearance will depend upon that as well as on other factors.

Major Sir Thomas Dugdale

Will the right hon. Gentleman read the speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) during the Adjournment Debate last night, as it puts the case very clearly? Will he give consideration to it?

Mr. Williams

I happen to have read the speech already.

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