asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied that the interests of the agriculture industry are adequately served by the current planning legislation and development control procedure.
As far too many acres of good agricultural land are still being lost to various developments each year, at a time when thousands of acres of land are lying unused or under-used in our urban areas, will my hon. Friend assure the House that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is in close liaison with the Department of the Environment about such important land use matters, especially about good agricultural land on the fringes of our towns and cities?
I certainly give my hon. Friend the assurance for which he asks—that my Ministry and the Department of the Environment work closely together on such matters. My Ministry is consulted at all stages in the preparation of structure and local plans and on all planning applications affecting more than 10 acres of agricultural land that do not conform to an agreed development plan. I agree that grade 3 agricultural land is of good quality and of great importance to British agriculture.