HC Deb 25 January 1973 vol 849 c628
12. Mr. David Clark

asked the Minister of State for Defence what plans he has for allowing greater public access to land held by his Department in the countryside.

Mr. Blaker

Our policy is to allow the public access to land held by the Services provided this is consistent with Service use and with the safety of the public. This policy is currently under review by the committee under the chairmanship of Lord Nugent of Guildford which is examining defence land holdings.

Mr. Clark

While I appreciate the Department's need for land, there is a strong feeling in the country that the Defence Department is holding on to too much of it. Will the Minister hasten this important report and bear in mind the removal of eyesores in the form of corrugated sheds which were built under the auspices not of his Department but of the War Department?

Mr. Blaker

I take note of what the hon. Gentleman says about eyesores. We shall do our best within the limits of the available financial resources. Between the years 1961–62 and 1971–72, 191,000 acres were disposed of by the Services and the general trend has been towards further reduction. The Nugent Committee is expected to report in the near future.