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Land Acquisition

Volume 462: debated on Monday 14 March 1949

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64.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will give instructions to the Forestry Commission to insure that the planting up of waste land and replanting of felled woodlands is given higher priority than the acquisition for planting of hill farms in respect of which hill sheep and cattle subsidy has been paid and which are capable of improvement for agriculture.

Will the hon. Member bear in mind that hill farms are still being acquired for this purpose, which is causing very great resentment in the hill-farming counties?

There will have to be some land which is hill-farming land or marginal land brought in for forestry work.

Some part of the land acquired by the Forestry Commission inevitably will be of that type, but the discussions to which the hon. Member refers in a later Question are to ensure that we do not have too much of it.

Will not the Forestry Commission consult the county agricultural executive committees in all cases?

65.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will give an assurance that no whole farms will be acquired by the Forestry Commission for planting until the proposed acquisition has been referred for investigation to a joint committee of representatives of the appropriate county agricultural executive committee and Forestry Commission regional advisory committee.

No, Sir. My right hon. Friend is satisfied that there is already sufficient consultation to ensure that land is not used for forestry if it is more suitable for agriculture.

Is the hon. Member aware that there is no liaison between the Forestry Commission and the county agricultural executive committees, and does he not think that this is a good opportunity to initiate such useful liaison?

The position is that no land is taken until the Minister is satisfied that it cannot be better used for agricultural purposes. There is, in fact, consultation at every level, and if there is any disagreement the ultimate decision rests with my right hon. Friend.