HC Deb 24 April 1961 vol 639 cc6-7
11. Mr. Boyden

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has now concluded his consultations with local authorities about the future of common land; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames

I have received and am considering the comments of the local authority and other interests which were consulted, but I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Mr. Boyden

Has there not been considerable delay in this matter? Cannot the Government say when they propose to introduce legislation on the subject?

Mr. Soames

I wish that I could, but this matter involves complex questions of law, history and land use. I am anxious to proceed as quickly as possible, but I want to try to get the right answer. This is a complex matter. It is not that I am trying to hold back, but it takes a good deal of time to try to solve these problems.

Sir G. Nicholson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in most cases, land that is called common land is not land held in common but land in which the rights belong to certain commoners? Will my right hon. Friend ensure that no firm action is taken by the Government without consulting representative commoners in each case?

Mr. Soames

Interested parties have been consulted all along the line, but it becomes difficult to consult commoners before there is registration by which we can know who are the commoners with the interests involved.

Mr. Ede

In view of the Answers given this afternoon by the right hon. Gentleman and his Parliamentary Secretary, can the Minister tell us the last date on which he reached any decision?

Mr. Lipton

Ten sixty-six.

Forward to