HL Deb 25 February 1986 vol 471 cc1037-8WA
Lord Hives

asked Her Majesty's Government:

If they have yet reached a decision on the future funding by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of the Soil Survey of England and Wales.

Lord Belstead

In January 1985 my right honourable friend announced, in accordance with the advice of the Priorities Board that, while the Ministry's commission with the Soil Survey would be unchanged in 1985–86, it would be set at half its current level in 1986–87. This early notification was intended to give the Soil Survey and the Agricultural and Food Research Council an opportunity to explore the possibility of alternative sources of income for future years.

The Soil Survey has responded positively to the challenge of securing funds through a wider range of commercial contracts and the Priorities Board has now given further consideration to the funding of the Soil Survey beyond 1986–87. In accordance with the board's recommendations, my right honourable friend has decided that the Ministry should continue to commission work with the Soil Survey at levels of £650,000 in 1987–88 and £500,000 in 1988–89. The needs of the department beyond that period will be reviewed at the appropriate time and the Priorities Board will again be consulted.