HC Deb 06 December 1984 vol 69 c489
8. Mr. Conway

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many hours of training his Department's farm wardens will require to enable them to carry out their responsibilities effectively.

Mrs. Fenner

Farm wardens would be appointed from people with a good knowledge of farms and farmers in their area. Their job would be to provide a link between these farmers and the Department's wartime organisation. Their training would be simple and I am confident that appointment and training could be completed within a few days.

Mr. Conway

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that reply. How many individuals are involved in the scheme and what will be the total time needed for implementation?

Mrs. Fenner

We believe that we shall require about 6,000 farm wardens for the United Kingdom as a whole. That is about one warden for each 20 farms. We do not think that it will take long to get them together, and the areas are being delineated roughly on that basis.

Mr. Corbett

What arrangements, if any, has the Minister made to ensure that the 6,000 wardens will be spared in the event of a nuclear attack? What plans does the Ministry have to update the ludicrous advice that it gave to farmers a few years ago to protect their dairy herds from the effects of a nuclear attack by spreading tarpaulins over the top of the lanes?

Mrs. Fenner

The Government's duty is to make plans to defend the people. Of course we cannot guarantee that all will live. I am answering a specific question later about the hon. Gentleman's second supplementary question.

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