HL Deb 06 April 1955 vol 192 cc399-400WA

asked Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of the widely varying estimates of land being lost to agriculture for non-agricultural purposes, they can, by bringing up to date the Analysis Table in paragraph 88 of the Report of the Committee on Land Utilisation in Rural Areas (Cmd. 6378, 1943), supply the figures for land which has actually been taken out of agricultural use from the year 1939 onwards for the various purposes shown in that table.


Any figures of the amount of agricultural land taken for development

Net Decreases in the Agricultural Area of England and Wales
Year Building and general Constructional Development Sports Grounds Miscellaneous* Total
Aerodromes or Air Ministry War Office Other Total Miscellaneous
Acres Acres Acres Acres Acres Acres Acres
1939/40–1941/2 41,000 -26,600 160,000 212,800 14,600 387,400 401,800
1942/3–1944/5 50,100 -400 93,100 107,700 20,800 221,600 271,300
Total war years 91,100 -27,000 253,100 320,500 35,400 609,000 673,100
Average per year 15,200 -4,500 42,200 53,400 5,900 101,500 112,200
1945/6–1947/8 108,100 26,000 -83,700 -72,300 6,700 -149,300 -15,200
1948/9–1950/1 84,300 24,700 -39,800 69,200
1951/2–1953/4 96,800 10,100 -17,100 89,800
Total post-war years 289,200 60,800 -206,200 143,800
Average per year 32,100 6,800 -22,900 16,000
* The expression "miscellaneous" used in Cmd. 6378 refers mainly to certain Government Departments, Service and Civil, but excluding the Forestry Commission. From 1948–9 these figures were collected under different headings.
Minus figures indicate net recoveries.

in England and Wales are necessarily subject to a margin of error. The figures available to my Department are based on statistics obtained partly from farmers' June 4 returns and partly from investigations by the Department's outdoor staff. The Table referred to in the Question was based on these figures. A Table in exactly the same form for the years since 1938–39 might be misleading in view of the large areas of agricultural land taken over by the Service Departments during the war years and the return of much of this land to agriculture in the post-war period. The Table below shows the net losses of agricultural land in three-yearly periods between 1939–40 and 1953–54 for the particular forms of development covered by the Table referred to in the Question; the figures for three-yearly periods are more reliable than year to year figures.

House adjourned at eight minutes past seven o'clock.