§ Lord Ross of Newport
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they have given any advice to local authorities condoning or discouraging the use of peat.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment (Baroness Blatch)
The Agricultural Development and Advisory Service of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is currently advising a number of local authorities on the management of amenity plant production, including the development and use of peat substitutes. In addition the Forestry Commission's Arboricultural Advisory and Information Service, which is funded by the Department of the Environment, has issued a note,Organic Soil Amendments for Tree Establishment. This note reports the results of recent research carried out for the Department and indicates that the money traditionally spent on bulky organic matter (including peat) would often be better spent on thorough site preparation and post planting care. The note is available to local authorities. In the Department of the Environment's recently published66WA
the defence of innocent dissemination should be extended to them as soon as a convenient legislative vehicle is available.
The responses to the consultation paper on the death of a party to defamation proceedings have disclosed widely diverging views as to whether or not it would be fairer to allow proceedings to be started or continued in the absence of the party who has died, but the response has not persuaded me that the present rule ought to be changed.