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I, too, welcome the Bill, and I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Minister on the part that I know he has played. Having sat with him in Committee, I know how close to him are many of the issues that we shall be discussing. I compliment him on the important part that he has played in this respect. Having said that, I should like to point out some of the defects of the Bill.
I wonder whether hon. Members have considered that the land being used, and for which the compensation is to become necessary, simply does not exist in an inexhaustible supply. In England and Wales land is now being consumed at the rate of 70,000 acres a year. It was being consumed at the rate of about 50,000 acres a year in 1955, and is likely to be consumed at the rate of about 90,000 acres a year a few years hence. More than 1 million acres have been used for development of one kind or another since 1950. A million acres is a lot of land. For instance, it is more than the whole of Leicestershire. I counsel my hon. Friends when considering the Bill to remember that the land that we are discussing is simply not in an inexhaustible supply. Bluntly, they are not making any more of it these days.