HC Deb 06 February 1986 vol 91 c424
8. Mr. Home Robertson

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will conduct a survey of the current use of land which has been taken out of the dairy industry under the outgoers scheme.

Mr. Gummer

We have no immediate plans to conduct a special survey on the impact of the outgoers scheme. We shall, however, be monitoring the changing trends in agricultural activities, through existing statistical series.

Mr. Home Robertson

Are we going to see the Minister paying people to take land out of dairy production, then paying people to take the same land out of beef production and then paying people to take the same land out of cereal production, in a highly expensive game of musical chairs, or can we have a sensible strategy for agricultural land use in the country?

Mr. Gummer

The answer to the first half of the question is no; to the second half of the question, yes.

Mr. Dickens

Will the Minister concede that, because land is available as a result of overproduction, it does not necessarily follow that that land has to be filled with residential or industrial development? Why can we not have a few decent golf courses?

Mr. Gummer

Golf courses do not come within my many responsibilities, but my hon. Friend must be right in saying that there are different considerations when we are dealing with land that can be taken out of use as agricultural land for purposes that would enable it to be returned to such use and the situation where it would be covered with concrete.