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Alternative Land Use

Volume 128: debated on Thursday 25 February 1988

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he next intends meeting representatives of the National Farmers Union to discuss the potential for farm woodlands.

We are in regular contact with the National Farmers Union about the development of farm woodlands. I discussed our revised proposals for the farm woodland scheme with the NFU and other interested organisations on 16 December.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had with farming organisations concerning the relationship between farming and forestry, following his proposals for alternative land use.

I met representatives of various farming organisations recently to discuss this subject and the proposed farm woodland scheme in particular.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the set-aside proposal agreed in Brussels preclude the possibility of a lowland farmer receiving payment for set-aside and using the grazing fallow to diversify or expand his sheep flock; and if he will make a statement.

The terms of the recent agreement by the European Council enable member states to permit grazing of set-aside land under conditions be laid down. The details have still to be discussed in the Council, and decisions on the precise shape of the scheme in the United Kingdom will follow after that.