HL Deb 29 June 1949 vol 163 cc481-2

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government: (1) whether they are aware that, four years after the conclusion of hostilities, Sherwood Forest is still cumbered with ammunition, and placarded with alarming notices "Dangerous Ammunition; curiosity can kill you"; and (2) if, in view of the chance of forest fires, the time has not come when this mountain (or those portions of it to which the profit motive does not apply) might be removed and cast into the sea.]


My Lords, owing to the shortage of permanent storage accommodation it will be necessary to continue storing ammunition in the Sherwood Forest for some time to come. Until future Service requirements are known, it will be possible to dispose only of unserviceable ammunition, which is being cleared as rapidly as man-power, transport and breakdown facilities permit. In view of the possibility of fire in the Forest, a strong fire prevention team has been provided. Warning notices have been erected in the interests of the public and, providing no unauthorised persons tamper with the ammunition, there is no cause for alarm.


My Lords, in thanking the noble Lord very much for his courteous reply, may I ask him whether his advisers have not underestimated the risk of fire in Sherwood Forest? Has his attention been called to a paragraph appearing in the Nottingham Guardian, which says: Mansfield Fire Brigade used a water tender to put out a blaze involving half an acre of grass and twenty yards of hedgerow in Kirklington Road, Rainworth, yesterday. Warsop brigade dealt with another fire which spread through five acres of grass and bracken off Cotton Mill Road, Church Warsop. Twenty acres of trees and undergrowth were severely damaged by fire in Gibbet Dale Wood, on the Newstead Abbey Estate, yesterday afternoon. Hucknall and Arnold firemen extinguished the outbreak. It seems to me that there are many fires in the Forest now, and I hope that great care will be taken.


My Lords, I am quite sure that great care is being taken. I have no reason to suppose that the dangers have been underestimated, but I will certainly call the attention of my right honourable friend and his advisers to the passage which the noble Lord quoted from the Nottingham Guardian. In reference to the noble Lord's question about moving mountains into the sea, I would add only that, if I remember rightly, we are exhorted to show faith. If the noble Lord shows sufficient faith, I have no doubt that a happy result will ensue.

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