§ 1. Mr. Heddle
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many acres of agricultural land were lost due to coal mining subsidence for the last year that figures are available.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mrs. Peggy Fenner)
I regret that this information is not available.
§ Mr. Heddle
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Will she consider the remarks of the chairman of the National Coal Board on Tuesday at a meeting of the Select Committee on Energy, as reported in today's papers, which imply that more needs to be paid to property owners, and especially farmers, for subsidence caused by coalmining activities? Does she agree that, especially with regard to consequential losses suffered by farmers whose land is over coalmining workings, the law and the voluntary code derived from it do not adequately compensate the agricultural community for the loss suffered by coalmining subsidence?
§ Mrs. Fenner
It is rare for subsidence damage to render agricultural land completely unworkable. I am as anxious as my hon. Friend to ensure that farmers whose land suffers from subsidence should receive appropriate compensation, but that is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy.