HC Deb 20 February 1946 vol 419 c248W
Mr. Osborne

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air, in view of the need to produce food at home, how many aerodromes he proposes to hand over to agriculture; what is the ploughable acreage; and if he will give an assurance that his Land Department will act quickly on his instructions, since spring corn must be sown in the next few weeks. "

Mr. Strachey

On 15th January, we had 50,000 acres in agricultural use and were arranging for War Agricultural Executive Committees to farm another 25,000 acres covering a large number of airfields. Particulars are not available of the total area under the plough, but 14,500 acres had been let for ploughing by my Department Since then, we have removed all restrictions on cultivation at over a hundred airfields which are still occupied. We are also making available for cultivation parts of a further 40 airfields which may be required again for flying. I cannot say what acreage at these airfields will be fit for the plough but I fear it may be disappointing because apart from the considerable extent of concrete, large areas of topsoil have been removed in levelling the airfields and the agricultural drainage has been destroyed.

Mr. S. Shephard

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air the cultivable area of R.A.F. stations at Bottesford, Langar, Winthorpe and Balderton; and what steps have been taken to make this land available for food production.

Mr. Strachey

The area capable of use for farming at these four airfields is about 1,600 acres. We are using Langar for flying and the other airfields for storage. It will be possible to get no more than hay and dried grass at Langar, but we are arranging through the local war agricultural executive committees for the other airfields to be farmed to the utmost possible extent.