§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the total area of defence lands in 1979 and to date; and what plans he has to(a) release more, or (b) acquire further such lands.
§ Mr. Neubert
On 1 April 1979 the total freehold and leasehold land and foreshore held by the Ministry of Defence was 621,118 acres (251,358 ha). The equivalent figure on 1 April 1989 was 596,265 acres (241,300 ha); some 79 per cent. of this consists of ranges, training areas and airfields.
The MOD continues to keep the size of its estate under review. Land which is surplus to defence requirements is disposed of; receipts from the sale of land and buildings were £150 million in 1988–89, nearly double that of any previous year.
There remains, however, a shortage of training land for the Army and additional areas are being acquired when they become available.