HC Deb 24 July 1916 vol 84 cc1346-7W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that in February last the Army Council, under the Defence of the Realm Act, took possession of some 112 acres of land at "Blank," in Hertfordshire, only 12 acres of which are grass, and that on the 13th July last it was intimated that a further 100 acres of arable land adjoining the land taken in February would be required; whether he is aware that this leaves the owner with no arable land on which to support a valuable herd of shorthorns; whether the policy of taking arable land for flying stations or pilot schools is likely to be extended; and whether he will consider the desirability, in the interests of food supplies, of obtaining the requisite areas from grass land rather than from arable land?


If I have identified "Blank" correctly, the answer to my hon. Friend is that before the site in question was finally selected all the land in the locality was carefully reconnoitred, with the result that no other site suitable could be found. I can assure my hon. Friend that it is the policy of the Department to avoid taking arable land where other land is available; and in the case of the Royal Flying Corps there are technical reasons connected with the work of that Corps, apart from the important question of food supply, why arable land should be avoided.