HC Deb 07 March 1986 vol 93 c294W
Mr. Maclennan

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will itemise in cash and real terms Government payments to farmers for conservation and amenity proposals for each year since 1979.

Mr. Jopling

It is not possible to isolate all those payments made by agricultural departments to farmers which are of benefit to the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside.

Certain elements can, however, be identified. Farm capital grant expenditure in the United Kingdom on stone walls, shelter belts, hedges, waste disposal and bracken control amounted to £4,974,121 in 1985. This does not cover all the expenditure under the capital grants schemes which could be regarded as being environmentally beneficial.

In addition, farmers participating in the Broads grazing marshes conservation scheme received payments totalling £418,348.95 in 1985. Half of this sum was funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the remainder by the Countryside Commission.

Payments have also been made under other schemes which have a range of objectives. The conservation element of this expenditure cannot, however, be separatley identified.

I cannot, of course, comment on the payments which may have been made to farmers for conservation works by other Government Departments, local authorities or grant-in-aid bodies.