§ Captain Ramsay
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what requests he has received from the Scottish Farmers' Union or other public body that tenant farmers should have the right to burn heather on their farms as owner occupiers; what objections he has to their having such rights; and whether he will take steps to expedite consideration of this matter.
Recent representations by the National Farmers' Union of Scotland have been limited to a request that tenant farmers should be given a greater measure of freedom to burn heather on their farms. At present any dispute as to place, extent and manner of a proposed muirburning between proprietor and tenant can be referred to the Agricultural Executive Committee for the District. The Committee's decision is final. The view that the present regulations give adequate rights of burning to tenant farmers is substantially accepted in the recently published report of the Committee on Hill Sheep Farming in Scotland. But following a recent meeting with the Executive of the National Farmers' Union specimen forms of notice to make muirburn have been drafted and supplies sent to the National Farmers' Union and other interests affected.
Captain Ramsay asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what penalty is at present incurred by farmers who burn heather in larger areas and in different places from those given in the notice to proprietors as laid down in Defence Regulation 63B.
A tenant of agricultural land who burns heather on areas outwith those specified by him in the notice given to his proprietor in accordance with Defence Regulation 63B would render himself liable on conviction, of an offence against the Regulation to the penalties set forth in Defence Regulation 92 that is—
- (a) on summary conviction, liability to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding £100, or to both such imprisonment and such fine; or
- (b) on conviction on indictment, liability to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine not exceeding £500, or to both such imprisonment and such fine.