asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will instruct his divisional surveyor at Reading not to take it upon himself to suggest to a district council that it should build houses in the green belt outside its own administrative area.
No. The Government's policy is to ensure that, as far as possible, land of a higher agricultural quality is not taken for development where land of a lower quality is available. As part of the planning process, therefore, the officers of my Land Service indicate to local planning authorities land to which there would or would not be agricultural objections to development.Clearly, however, if this advice is to be effective it cannot be confined to land which is wholly within the boundaries of the local authority concerned with the development in question. But it is for that local authority to take appropriate action on the Ministry's advice in the light of its statutory responsibilities.