HC Deb 20 November 1951 vol 494 cc195-6
16. Sir Ian Fraser

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the need for the maximum home production of food, he will review the use of land by his Department.

Mr. Head

Subject to essential military requirements, the War Department always lets for cultivation or, failing that, lets grazing rights on as much land as possible.

Sir I. Fraser

Would my right hon. Friend encourage agricultural and horticultural use of all land he now possesses, as well as seek not to take over valuable fertile land in the future?

Mr. Head

I can assure my hon. Friend that we are very well aware of the importance of the effect on agriculture of the use of land by the War Department, and every possible step is taken to see that it is cultivated as far as practicable in relation to training requirements.

Colonel Alan Gomme-Duncan

Will my right hon. Friend see that land not given up to horticulture or agriculture is, at least, kept as free from weeds as the cultivated land which marches with it?

Mr. Head

I will take note of my hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion.

Mr. J. Langford-Holt

Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that his Department does not in practice take over any land without prior consultation with the Minister of Agriculture?

Mr. Head

I can assure my hon. Friend that in the past few years very thorough exchanges of information regarding the clearance of land held by the War Office have taken place both with the Minister of Agriculture and with what was then the Ministry of Town and Country Planning. These consultations have now advanced to a stage where about five-sixths of the land held by the War Office has now been cleared.