HC Deb 10 February 1887 vol 310 cc1083-4
DR. R. MACDONALD (Ross and Cromarty)

asked the Secretary for Scotland, If his attention has been called to the proposal to turn the extensive sheep-farm of Garbat, Ben Wyvis, into a deer forest; and, whether it is the intention of the Government, having regard to the pressing demand of the native population for the restoration of the land for productive purposes, to take any steps to prevent the afforesting of any additional lands, or the disafforesting of such arable and pastoral portions of the present forests as might be beneficially occupied by people from the congested districts of the Highlands?


I have no information on the first point. On the second, I may remind the hon. Member that, under the provisions of the Crofters' Act, so far as the people in the locality are concerned, land under deer is more available for the purpose of increasing the size of holdings than land under sheep. As regards the use of land under deer to relieve the congestion of distant parts of the Highlands. I presume the wish of the hon. Member—though the wording of his Question fails to express it—is that the Government should introduce a measure for enabling the population of overcrowded districts to migrate on to land now occupied by deer. I cannot enter fully into the arguments in favour of or against such a scheme, nor is it necessary, as I am not aware that there exists any large population in the congested districts anxious to leave their native place, and provided with the capital, without which any such scheme would prove a disastrous failure.