§ 57. Mr. Charles Morrison
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement on progress on disposal of unwanted land held by his Department.
§ Mr. Prior
Excluding the experimental centres and the small-holdings estates managed on my behalf by the Land Settlement Association the acreage at present held by my Department amounts to some 38,100 acres. This includes about 2,400 acres previously under the management of the Land Settlement Association, the bulk of which is in process of sale.
As I stated in reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Holland with Boston (Mr. Body) on 20th January, I have opened negotiations with the Holland County Council as smallholdings authority for the sale of 6,500 acres of smallholdings land held by my Department in that county. I am reviewing the future of the remaining 29,200 acres held by my Department in England with a view to disposal where appropriate. This includes 20,300 acres of freehold and leasehold agricultural land originally purchased in connection with forestry acquisitions.
I am hoping to complete a review of the freehold properties by the end of March to determine in consultation with the Forestry Commission the areas which are surplus to the requirements of the forestry enterprise and can therefore be considered for disposal and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is taking parallel action on the land which he holds in Wales.—[Vol. 809, c. 294.]