§ Mr. Derek Page
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the extent of soil erosion in East Anglia; and what steps he proposes to prevent further erosion.
§ Mr. John Mackie
The main causes of soil erosion in East Anglia are shrinkage and loss of peat due to oxidation and blowing of the peats and of light sands. It is estimated that the loss due to shrinkage averages about ½ inch per annum over some 250,000 acres but no figure can be put on the irregular losses due to wind blowing. My officers are collecting information on the effects of the recent blowing.85W
The Arthur Rickwood Experimental Husbandry Farm is currently carrying cut work on soil wastage on the fen peats, and a number of other studies are in progress. Advice on the prevention of damage from wind blowing, and on appropriate husbandry measures is available from my Department. Grants are available to farmers for the provision of shelter belts and for claying and marling.