HC Deb 13 March 1980 vol 980 cc696-7W
18. Mr. Neubert

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will re-name the grades of agricultural land without altering the classification so that the present misleading nomenclature is made simpler.

25. Mr. Chapman

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with the system of classification and grading of land designated as agricultural use.

Mr. Wiggin

I am aware that the classification of agricultural land in England and Wales into five grades of which the middle grade, grade 3, represents almost half of the total acreage may be misunderstood. Grade 3 land is not to be regarded as third class land; on the contrary, it is valuable land with a wide range of agricultural uses.

The land service of ADAS is currently engaged at my request in studying the system to see if the use of a different nomenclature would serve any useful purpose and be acceptable to all users.

28. Mr. Kenneth Lewis

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the acreage of agricultural land lost to farming in favour of urban and other development in the years 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979, respectively.

Mr. Wiggin

Statistics on land losses are computed on a five-year rolling average to take account of the need to make adjustments to the more recent years in the series.

On this basis, the average net loss of agricultural land to urban and other development in England and Wales in the five-year period ending in 1978 was 11,600 hectares (27,840 acres) per annum.

I regret that the figures for 1979 are not yet available.