HL Deb 02 March 1948 vol 154 cc290-2WA

asked His Majesty's Government whether the lands in Perthshire and Stirlingshire suspected by farmers in February, 1947, of being subject to poison gas fumes from the destruction of munitions and declared by Government authorities as being free of any such poison, have now been established as affected; whether the Government are aware that cattle grazed by official direction on these lands are sick, that the milk yield is one-third of what it should be, that 75 per cent. of the breeding stock are sterile, and that the Weybridge Control Station have admitted that cattle sent to them for examination showed disease, and that a number of the cattle are to be slaughtered; whether the Government will pay full compensation to the farmers concerned, in respect of the loss they have sustained by following Government directions as to continued grazing; and whether any steps have been taken, and if so what steps, to ensure that potatoes now directed to be grown on these lands will not convey sickness to human beings consuming them.


His Majesty's Government are aware that at one farm in Perthshire sickness among cattle grazed since the land was declared to be free from contamination is alleged to be due to the burning of munitions. The War Office are in consultation with veterinary experts but inquiries are not yet complete. At this stage, therefore, it is not possible to state whether compensation will be paid, but if War Department liability is established fair compensation will be paid. There is no evidence that any crops (including vegetables) grown in the area since the ammunition was burned have conveyed sickness to human beings. It is not considered that there will be any danger to persons consuming potatoes grown on these lands.

House adjourned at twenty-seven minutes before eight o'clock.