HC Deb 10 March 2004 vol 418 c1548W
Hugh Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will make a statement on the land ownership issues at Brogdale as they affect the National Fruit Collection; [159262]

(2) if she will make a statement on the future of the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale; [159263]

(3) if she will make a statement on the criteria her Department used to assess a suitable manager for the National Fruit Collection. [159264]

Alun Michael

The National Fruit Collection belongs to Defra and we have contracts with Brogdale Horticulture Trust covering its maintenance and curation; and with Imperial College (Wye) on scientific programme direction. Under overriding lease provisions, agreed some years ago, we have access to the NFC until 2016, irrespective of land ownership or land holding considerations. We have been holding a number of discussions with Brogdale Horticulture Trust about the future curation contract arrangements which we hope to conclude shortly.