HC Deb 21 June 1951 vol 489 cc704-5
59. Surgeon Lieut.-Commander Bennett

asked the Minister of Agriculture what has been the cost of the Experimental Fruit Station, Botley, Hampshire, since he has been responsible for it; what results have been obtained from it; why he proposes to close it down; and what equivalent services he proposes to provide.

Mr. T. Williams

Botley is one of the Ministry's experimental centres, which are not designed to be run as commercial units and for which therefore it is not proposed to publish separate accounts or particulars of running costs, which would serve no useful purpose. The station was taken over nearly five years ago on a short lease to serve as the centre for N.A.A.S. investigations into disease of strawberries and related problems pending the setting up of the projected experimental horticulture station for Southern England, for which a suitable site has now been found near Lymington. The progress made with the investigations at Botley will assist the further development of work there.

Surgeon Lieut.-Commander Bennett

While it is undoubtedly true that the work at Botley has every relevance to the growing of strawberries, is not the Minister aware that Lymington is situated in totally different circumstances; and that there are several conditions which do not apply at Lymington but which do apply in the Botley region, research into which would help strawberry growers?

Mr. Williams

All our advice is to the contrary.