§ Mr. John Lee
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will arrange for a national soil and land use survey of the whole country to be carried out.
§ Mr. John Mackie
Arrangements already exist for surveys both of soil types and of land utilisation. The former is the responsibility of the Soil Survey of England and Wales, under the aegis of the Agricultural Research Council. The results, showing the distribution of soil types, are published by the Soil Survey Research Board. A survey of land use is currently being conducted on a voluntary basis by the Second Land Utilisation Survey of Britain, and the results are being published as they become available.
In addition, our Department is currently carrying out a survey of agricultural land quality in England and Wales. One of the main aims of this survey is to correlate the physical properties of agricultural land with its productive capacity, and so to provide guidance to planners in selecting or avoiding particular areas of agricultural land for non-agricultural 200W development. The first survey maps, together with an explanatory report, will be available shortly, and I hope that the survey will be completed over the next two to three years.