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Welford Aerodrome (Land Cultivation)

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 20 February 1952

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if, in view of the Government's decision to secure the utmost possible production of grain for this year's harvest, he will now authorise the continued cultivation of 200 acres between the runways on Welford Aerodrome, Berkshire, and give general instructions that all land held by the Air Ministry which can be spared for cropping shall immediately be offered to local farmers.

It is already the policy of the Air Ministry to make as much land as possible available for food production, and my noble Friend is at present seeking ways and means of increasing the yield. The airfield at Welford, however, is to be used as a storage depot, and it is planned to start preparing the site early this summer. This will, I am afraid, make it physically impossible for farmers to cultivate any of the land there.

If this airfield at Welford is only to be used for storage, is there any reason why the ground between the runways should not be cropped for the 1952 harvest?

The airfield will be used as an ammunition depot. Railway lines are being laid down criss-cross and concrete traverses are being put down. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman's suggestion is possible.

Will the Minister see if he can find a few acres instead of sterilising the whole of the airfield?

I am in sympathy with my hon. Friend's suggestion and will do what I can.

Can the Minister make sure that such acres as are not covered by works will at least be kept clean so that they will not distribute weeds over good agricultural land?