§ 38. Sir B. Janner
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he is taking to preserve and develop the production of lavender in this country; and what help his Department gives when a lavender grower wishes to obtain planning permission for buildings in connection with such production.
The production of lavender in this country is protected by import duties on fresh and dried lavender. The Ministry's advisory officers are available to give technical advice to lavender growers. Planning applications are for the local planning authority, and, on appeal, for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government, to consider on their merits. Where the planning authority proposes to reject an application for agricultural development or to approve it subject to conditions, it is required to consult the Ministry's Land Commissioners, whose instructions are, in accordance with Ministry of Housing Circular 43/58, that they should support such applications when the development is, in their judgment, necessary in the long term for the efficient farming of the land.
§ Sir B. Janner
In view of the very encouraging statement made by the Minister, will he go a step further and say that he will take practical steps to implement the inference to be drawn from his statement, and see that a business which has been in existence in Hertforshire for 140 years shall not be put out of existence because no planning per- 616 mission has been given for a building to be erected on the 5-acre farm of a well-known lavender developer?
I think I know the case which the hon. Member has in mind. I can assure him that it is still the subject of inquiry.