§ 11. Mr. Moate
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the farm diversification scheme.
§ Mr. Ryder
Some 1,300 applications have been received in the United Kingdom for the farm diversification capital grants that were introduced a year ago, 784 of which have been approved. The non-capital grants for enterprise feasibility studies and marketing costs, which were introduced on 1 August, have attracted 44 applications. This is an encouraging response to the scheme.
§ Mr. Moate
Does my hon. Friend agree that the scheme is giving new opportunities and initiatives to farmers and growers, but that much depends on a sympathetic response from the planning authorities? Is he satisfied that the planning authorities are ready and willing to respond to the spirit of the scheme? What opportunities exist for farmers and growers to obtain guidance about the planning implications of the scheme?
§ Mr. Ryder
My hon. Friend is correct. We have just published guidance entitled "Planning Permission and the Farmer", which is available from HMSO bookshops. We hope that it will become a standard work to help farmers overcome the problems to which my hon. Friend referred.