HC Deb 03 December 1953 vol 521 c1291
12. Mr. Garner Evans

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many acres of land in Wales are classed as common land; whether he is satisfied that the best use is being made of these lands for stock rearing and forestry; and what steps are being taken to bring these lands into full production.

Sir T. Dugdale

The exact acreage of common land in Wales is not known, but has been estimated at about half a million acres. More productive use of some of this land would no doubt be technically possible, but as the law now stands I have no power to initiate steps to this end.

Mr. Evans

Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to find out how many acres of common land there are in Wales?

Sir T. Dugdale

It is very difficult to give an exact figure, but there are about half a million acres.

Mr. T. Williams

Does the right hon. Gentleman not think it much more important to ascertain what use is being made of that common land rather than its actual acreage?

Mr. Baldwin

Will my right hon. Friend consider bringing in a law to deal with waste land on commons not only in Wales, but all over the country, and which is of use neither to the common holder nor to the nation as a whole?

Sir T. Dugdale

As I think the House is aware, the existing law relating to commons is full of complexities. It goes back many hundreds of years, and any legislation dealing with the matter would be extremely complicated and detailed.

Mr. P. Morris

Does not that very fact emphasise the need for new legislation being introduced so that some common land which cannot be used for ordinary purposes may be used for the building of houses?

Sir T. Dugdale

That is another aspect of the same problem.