HC Deb 20 June 1991 vol 193 cc279-80W
Mr. Simon Hughes

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what advice and funding is given by his Department to residents of the Duchy of Lancaster to encourage the achievement of the objectives in "This Common Inheritance", Cm 1200; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chris Patten

The Duchy of Lancaster is working in a practical way towards achieving the objectives stated in "This Common Inheritance".

In agriculture, where the Duchy owns about 35,000 acres of agricultural land let to tenant farmers, the main problem encountered is that of pollution control. The Duchy actively encourages tenant farmers to consider with the Duchy proposals for remedying the problem: the onus is on the farmer and he receives the grants available. The Duchy provides professional assistance and helps with funding where the solution entails fixed equipment. The expenditure by the Duchy runs into many thousands of pounds.

The Duchy encourages the improvement of the countryside by the planting of trees and the enhancement of hedgerows. Free provision of trees and hedgerow whips is made to tenant farmers. There are some 2,500 acres of woodland in hand. When trees are felled replanting takes place with species which are appropriate for the neighbourhood. When compatible with other uses the Duchy opens woodland areas to the public for recreation purposes.

When land in the ownership of the Duchy becomes available for development the Duchy seeks to take the lead in promoting proposals in discussion with the local authorities.

For the most part monuments in the ownership of the Duchy of Lancaster have been taken into guardianship by other authorities: a few do remain in the Duchy's direct ownership and have been the subject of an extensive programme of consolidation and archaeological investigations. These works will secure the fabric of the ruins for another generation.