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Railway Land (Allotments)

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 13 April 1949

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asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps he is taking to arrange for the utilisation of the verges of railways for the production of food, especially for fruit and allotments for vegetables.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture
(Mr. George Brown)

At 1st April, 1948, there were 75,306 allotments on 4,321 acres of railway land. The railways have willingly co-operated with local authorities in the provision of additional allotments, subject of course to fencing the land from the railway where necessary in the interests of safety, and to reservation of the right to re-enter the land at short notice for railway purposes.

In view of this large and extensive area of land now under the control of the Government, will my hon. Friend consult the Ministry of Transport as to what further use could be made of the land for the production of food, particularly for allotments?

We do not think there is need for that, but if a local authority thinks there is land which can be made available they should get into touch with the estate manager and rating agent of the railway region concerned.

Will the hon. Gentleman take into account the immense amounts of forage grass that goes to waste every year in this respect?

Would it not be a bad thing to grow fruit trees by the side of railways, as that might prove a danger by attracting boys to the trees and so on to the railway lines?