§ 97. Mr. Channon
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what payments have been made to his Department by the Corporation of Southend-on-Sea during 1960 for defraying the costs of removing trees infected with fire blight.
§ Mr. Godber
We are most grateful to the Corporation of Southend-on-Sea for its co-operation in helping to combat the spread of this most dangerous disease, but no question of payment by the Corporation arises.
§ 98. Mr. Channon
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to introduce legislation to amend the Fire Blight Disease Order in such a way as to ensure that the financial burden of destroying infected trees does not fall on the occupier of the land on which they are growing.
§ Mr. Godber
The Fire Blight Disease Order, 1958, was made under the Destructive Insects and Pests Acts, 1877–1927. As these Acts do not give power to pay the cost of destroying infected trees, it is not possible to amend the Order in the way my hon. Friend suggests. The need for a new Act is being reviewed in the light both of modern plant health knowledge and of the costs involved in controlling and eradicating plant diseases, but I regret there is no immediate prospect of bringing any new measures before Parliament.