HC Deb 23 June 1953 vol 516 cc135-6W
Mr. Patrick Maitland

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) under what instrument he has requisitioned three farms at Roberton, Lanarkshire, for military training;

(2) what compensation for disturbance he has paid to farmers at Roberton, Lanarkshire, whose production of food is being disturbed by military training;

(3) what restrictions he has ordered upon the use of land requisitioned at Roberton, Lanarkshire, for military training purposes;

(4) when he will make arrangements to repair damage to field drainage and to hill land caused by the use of the Roberton area, Lanarkshire, for military training.

Mr. Head

Four thousand eight hundred and twenty-four acres of land between Douglas and Roberton are used by my Department for general military training. Sixty acres are held on requisition under Defence Regulation 51 and the remainder of the land is used under Defence Regulation 52. It is proposed to acquire this land and planning clearance has been given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. The restrictions which he made affecting agriculture will be strictly observed and are as follows(a) The War Department will not use some 900 acres of land in the training area (coloured yellow on the plan) including about 590 acres of arable land. (b) The War Department will endeavour to safeguard sheep rearing and agricultural interests as follows: —

  1. (i) They will take all possible steps not to disturb existing tenants and to keep to a minimum interference with the normal agricultural operations in the area.
  2. (ii) Training will be suspended from 15th November to 30th November while from 1st December to 31st December and from 1st March to 15th May training will be restricted so as to ensure that there will be no interference with flocks. Such training 136 will not involve firing, explosions or excessively noisy operations likely to disturb stock. During the periods of restricted training seven days' notice of exercises will be given to the farmers concerned.
  3. (iii) They will respect existing fences. Where it is necessary to make gaps in fences to allow for the passage of tanks they will provide grids to prevent stock from straying from one farm to another.
  4. (iv) They will not touch the steadings and farm buildings.
  5. (v) There will be no displacement of stock.
  6. (vi) They will give adequate warning to shepherds to move their flocks before firing takes place.
  7. (vii) They will maintain hill drains, damaged as a result of their operations, in serviceable order.
  8. (viii) They will make a single place of entry for tanks moving on to the training area so as to avoid breaking up land unnecessarily."

There have been no claims for compensation for disturbance and I have had no report of any damage to field drainage or to hill land.