asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps he proposes to take to see that common land now cultivated by county executive committees does not revert to its former derelict condition when handed back to the commoners.
County agricultural executive committees are at present conducting a review of all requisitioned land, including commons, to enable my right hon. Friend to decide whether efficient agricultural use can be maintained if the land is derequisitioned or whether it is necessary for him to purchase the land under the powers conferred by section 85 of the Agriculture Act, 1947. In view of his special responsibility for commons, no decision to purchase common land would be made without taking fully into account the interests of the commoners and any other interests involved.
Is the Minister aware that I want to see the interests of the commoners duly protected, and is he also aware that we cannot afford to waste this vast expanse of land at a time when the consumers are kept short of food?
That is exactly why I said in reply that my right hon. Friend is considering all the circumstances.
Can my hon. Friend tell us if derelict land includes land worked for ironstone and so left derelict?