HC Deb 08 April 1965 vol 710 cc664-5
Q5. Mr. Corfield

asked the Prime Minister what are the responsibilities of the Minister of Land and Natural Resources in regard to the reclamation of land for which there is no prospect of obtaining planning permission for residential, commercial, industrial or other development but which has been rendered useless for agriculture by the continued existence of the remains of former service installations.

Mr. George Brown

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Land and Natural Resources is concerned with the overall strategy of land use and will contribute advice on techniques and the economic aspects of reclamation.

Mr. Corfield

Does it help administration to split these functions between the Minister of Land and Natural Resources and the Minister of Housing and Local Government, who is in charge of land use and planning? Is it not clear that the job would be better done by one or the other?

Mr. Brown

That is a different question. In practice we think that the system works better this way. The Minister of Housing and Local Government has an enormous load of responsibility and we thought it better to put this job on someone else.

Mr. Maxwell

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that every parish in the country has two to ten acres of land which has been accumulated over the years and on which no building has taken place? If this land could be made available for development and the building of houses, it would be likely to save millions of acres of agricultural land of which we are so desperately short?

Mr. Brown

I am sure that there is a great deal in that. If my hon. Friend would put the question down, I would be glad to look into it.

Mr. G. Campbell

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that what he said does not apply to Scotland, where one Minister has both these functions? The Minister of Land and Natural Resources has no responsibility in Scotland.

Mr. Brown

I can only answer Questions put down. If the hon. Gentleman wants to put down a Question in other terms I will answer it in those terms.