asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from organisations or individuals about the effect the Chernobyl fallout has had on the ability of people to sell agricultural land; what replies he has sent; and if he will make a statement.
Representations have been recieved by me, or by my Department, from the Country Landowners Association, National Farmers Union and individuals about compensation for farms "blighted" because of the restrictions imposed following the Chernobyl accident.All have been informed, or will be informed, that various factors are combining to make land prices weak at this time but that there is no reason why the sheep restrictions should place a farmer in a worse position than other farmers who wish to sell their property. In designing these restrictions we have sought to ensure that farmers are able to carry out their normal husbandry so far as possible, and compensation arrangements designed to cover market losses on marked sheep and certain direct losses resulting from the impact of the restrictions were introduced. The arrangements to allow sheep to move from restricted farms and associated compensation arrangements should ensure that farmers suffer no significant loss in the operation of their businesses. In these circumstances there ought not to be any loss in the capital value since the farm's earning potential is not affected and its normal husbandry practices are not impeded.