HC Deb 20 April 1959 vol 604 cc4-5
12. Mr. Loveys

asked the Paymaster-General whether he is aware that the Central Electricity Generating Board is considering taking first-class agricultural land near Chichester for the purpose of a power station; and what is now the Government's policy in regard to the use of the best class of agricultural land in this country for this purpose.

Mr. Maudling

As regards the first part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr. Gough) on 14th April. The Government's policy is to ensure that good agricultural land is not taken for development where less good land would serve the purpose.

Mr. Loveys

Whilst realising the increasing necessity for these nuclear power stations throughout the country, may I ask whether my right hon. Friend is of the opinion that the time has now come when it is absolutely unavoidable that the best agricultural land should be used for this purpose?

Mr. Maudling

In certain cases, I am afraid that may be so, but I should like to assure my hon. Friend and all others concerned that, in deciding whether or not to give consent to the construction of a power station, my noble Friend takes very careful account of the nature of the agricultural land involved.

Mr. Champion

Does the Paymaster-General consult the Minister of Agriculture before permitting land to be used in this way?

Mr. Maudling

Certainly; before my noble Friend gives consent he consults the Minister of Agriculture.