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Farms: Local Authorities

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which local authorities have disposed of smallholdings in each year since 1980; and on what date each such smallholding was disposed of. (244258)

I regret that the information requested is not readily available in DEFRA and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by drawing on the resources of local authorities in England.

I am aware that over the years, faced by growing financial pressures, a number of local authorities have taken the decision either to dispose of all or part of their smallholding estates. In 1970, the total number of smallholdings held by local authorities in England was 10,971 with a total area of 148,044 hectares. By 2007, the number of smallholdings had fallen to 3,138, a reduction of 72 per cent., and the total area had decreased to 94,063 hectares, a reduction of 36 per cent.