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Agricultural Land (Loss)

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 28 February 1952

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asked the Minister of Agriculture what acreage of land has passed out of cultivation since the war through the use, for building, industrial and other purposes, of land formerly used for agriculture or horticulture.


asked the Minister of Agriculture what machinery he has for recording the amount of agricultural land which is taken for non-agricultural purposes each year, and the amount of land which comes newly into agricultural production each year; and what has been the net loss of agricultural land over the past 15 years.

The machinery for recording losses and gains of agricultural land is the annual June census of agricultural holdings, supplemented by inquiries made by my local officers. The total area of crops and grass and rough grazings in sole occupation in England and Wales in June, 1951, was 684,000 acres less than the area returned in June, 1936, an average net annual reduction of 45,000 acres. Between June, 1945, and June, 1951, rather more than half a million acres of land has gone out of agricultural use, but some 450,000 acres have been restored to agriculture and the net annual loss has been about 13,000 acres. In addition, it is estimated that over the last 15 years the area of rough grazings in common occupation has increased by 295,000 acres.