§ Mr. Kimball
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) when he proposes to allow the spraying of bracken with herbicides as a method qualifying for aid under the Eradication of Bracken Scheme;
(2) what action he is taking to ascertain the total number of acres sprayed with herbicides for the eradication of 70W bracken by farmers and landowners this July and August; and how he proposes to evaluate the effectiveness of these sprays;
(3) as representing the Lord President of the Council, what special action the Agricultural Research Council have taken to keep a particular watch on work and development being done for the eradication of bracken by chemical spraying.71W
§ Mr. John Hare
As no control is exercised by me over the chemical spraying of bracken by farmers and landowners, it would not be practicable to ascertain the acreage sprayed.
Research on chemical methods of bracken control is being actively persued at a number of centres in the United Kingdom, and an officer has recently been appointed to the staff of the Agricultural Research Council's Unit of Experimental Agronomy whose duty it is to keep in touch with the various bodies concerned and to assist in co-ordinating their efforts. I intend, in consultation with my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Scotland, to evaluate the effectiveness of this method of bracken eradication in the light of the results obtained from experiments being carried out. The question of allowing the spraying of bracken with herbicides as a method qualifying for aid under the Eradication of Bracken Scheme will be considered thereafter.