§ Mr. George Howarth
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what estimate he has made of the hectarage of farmland which is surplus to agricultural requirements but cannot be used for any alternative purpose due to(a) local plans and (b) greenbelt zoning. 
§ Ms Keeble
Consideration of whether to grant planning permission for the alternative use of agricultural land is a matter in the first instance for local planning authorities taking into account their development plan policies and national guidance. National planning policy for the countryside is contained in Planning Policy Guidance Note (PPG) 7: The Countryside—Environmental Quality and Economic and Social Development. PPG7 was recently amended to encourage lo, al planning authorities to be more supportive of farm diversification projects that are consistent in their scale with their rural location.
PPG2 sets out national planning policies for green belts and identifies those uses of land within green belts that may be appropriate.