HC Deb 23 April 1953 vol 514 cc1379-80
15. Mr. Renton

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that, in spite of his written statement that steps would be taken to exterminate rabbits at Graveley Airfield on the borders of Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire, nothing has yet been done to reduce the numbers of rabbits there; and whether he will cause immediate steps to be taken.

Sir T. Dugdale

I cannot agree that nothing has been done to reduce numbers of rabbits at Graveley Airfield. The county agricultural executive committee have been constantly snaring rabbits in the area, but the land is so overgrown with bushes that complete clearance cannot be achieved. The question of clearing the bushes and letting the land for agriculture is being considered by the Air Ministry in consultation with my Department.

Mr. Renton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that all this land is in the occupation of the Air Ministry and that it is over a year since I first asked his Department, in conjunction with the Air Ministry, to get something done about it? Is he further aware that there is a gentleman of my acquaintance who is willing to start clearing these rabbits away tomorrow, and without payment?

Sir T. Dugdale

The Air Ministry have, in fact, been very co-operative in this difficult task and are still considering whether they can embark on the wider project.

Mr. Hastings

Will the right hon. Gentleman give further consideration to the appointment of a committee to investigate the best method of exterminating rabbits without undue cruelty, as they are such destructive agents in agriculture?

Sir T. Dugdale

I think we really know all the problems. The difficulty is to find the right solution for getting rid of the rabbits. I think we know all the facts without having any more committees to look into the matter.