HC Deb 01 February 1938 vol 331 cc63-4W
Captain Plugge

asked the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England at the lack of co-operation between Government Departments when the acquisition of land for defence purposes is under consideration; and how much agricultural land has been purchased for defence purposes in each of the last three years?

Sir T. Inskip

As regards the first part of the question, I would assure my hon. and gallant Friend that, while particularly at the present time the needs of national defence must receive priority, it is the Government's desire, in which the Service Departments share, to carry out each part of the Defence Programme in the way best calculated to cause the minimum disturbance to other interests. After careful examination of the problem, suitable machinery has been established in each of the Defence Departments which will ensure that other interests of national importance shall receive adequate consideration when the selection of sites is being carried out and that that consideration shall take place in sufficient time to enable due weight to be given to the results by the Department concerned before decisions as to acquisition are taken.

As regards the second part of the question, I am advised that the amounts of agricultural land which were purchased for defence purposes in the years 1935, 1936 and 1937 were 6,724, 12,387, and 13,204 acres, respectively. I understand that 514 acres of the last figure have been re-let to farmers.