HC Deb 10 November 1943 vol 393 cc1160-1W
Sir R. Glyn

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can make any statement about the proposal to set aside a large area of agricultural land in an area of which he has been informed, for tank exercises and troop manoeuvres; whether there is any control by British officers; and whether the Claims Commission is authorised to restrict definite areas where milking herds or special forms of agriculture are practised?

Mr. A. Henderson

The decision to utilise a considerable area of agricultural land in the district referred to for military training was only taken after the whole matter had been given the most careful consideration. The area in question is needed by the American Forces and its use is essential for their adequate training. It is recognised that unfortunately a considerable degree of agricultural damage and interference will be inevitable but all steps open to us tending to mitigate this will be taken in so far as they are not inimical to efficient training. The Americans are fully conscious of the importance of this matter and have undertaken to co-operate to this end as far as may be practicable.

Whilst exercises will naturally be carried out under American direction, arrangements have been made whereby British claims officers will be kept in close touch with the whole situation and the British Claims Commission will be responsible for the assessment and settlement of agricultural claims arising out of the exercises. In fact so far as the public is concerned it is intended to follow normal procedure.

The possibility of making arrangements to provide a number of special areas for cattle is at the moment receiving careful consideration and whilst it is impossible at this stage to say whether (and, if so, to what extent) action along these lines will be possible, every effort will be made to do as much as may be practicable in this direction.