§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
The Government's response to the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution's seventh report has been published today. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.
As the Royal Commission pointed out, the last 30 years have seen something of an agricultural revolution in the United Kingdom. In 1953, the industry contributed less than two thirds of that part of the nation's food supply that can be produced at home. Today it contributes about three quarters. This impressive record has resulted from advances in a wide range of agricultural practices and techniques. But continued efficient food production must go hand in hand with effective protection of the environment, and it is equally important to minimise the effects on agriculture of pollution from other sources.
The Royal Commission, under the chairmanship of Sir Hans Kornberg, produced a well-balanced, constructive and realistic report, with a wide variety of recommendations on these issues. My right hon. Friend and I are most grateful to the Commission for a job very well done.
The time taken in responding to the Royal Commission's recommendations reflects the detailed attention that the Government have given to them. Even now, we have not quite completed matters; but, as is apparent from our response, we have been able to accept most of the recommendations. Some have already been implemented, and action on others is in hand.