HC Deb 30 July 1935 vol 304 cc2463-4
27. Mr. THORNE

asked the hon. and gallant Member for Rye, as representing the Forestry Commissioners, the reason why the Forestry Commission are not prepared to alter their rearranged programme so as to put more land under afforestation and thereby help to relieve unemployment in the distressed areas, where it is stated under paragraph 120 in the Commissioner's report for the special areas that there are 300,000 acres available adjacent to South Wales alone; and whether, seeing that within the next 20 or 30 years a world shortage of timber is anticipated, he will inform the House why the conferences between the Commissioner for the special areas and the Forestry Commissioners did not meet with any results?

Colonel Sir GEORGE COURTHOPE (Forestry Commissioner)

The Forestry Commissioners' primary duty is to promote the production of timber, which they do, within the limit of moneys voted to the Forestry Fund, by afforesting the most suitable land which they can acquire in Great Britain. It has to be recognised that owing to smoke, and other causes arising out of industrialisation, trees do not grow as well in the special areas as in many other parts of the country. It is therefore impracticable for the Commissioners to concentrate their programme in the immediate vicinity of these areas. Somewhat further afield, for example, in the Border country, Cumberland and Carmarthen-shire, extensive afforestation operations are in progress. With regard to the Special Commissioner's estimate that there are 300,000 acres prima facie suitable for afforestation in South Wales, I would point out that for the reasons indicated, and on account of the existence of common rights, the area suitable and available is very much smaller in extent. There are already 12 forest units in or near the South Wales special area. The Forestry Commissioners on their part do desire to acquire further areas of land reasonably suitable for afforestation and have made, and are making, inquiries to that end.


Is it not the case that in special areas of Scotland there are large tracts of country that are not subject to smoke from industrial areas, and would not the proposal be quite feasible there? I refer to Lanarkshire and round about the shores of Loch Lomond.


That may be so, but I could not give such details without notice.

52. Mr. LECKIE

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has considered the recommendations of the Forestry Commissioners referred to on pages 19 and 20 of their Fifteenth Annual Report recently issued; and what steps he proposes to take to implement them, in view of the urgent importance of encouraging forestry in this country?


Discussions are proceeding on the question of the financial provision to be made for the programme of the Forestry Commission for the period subsequent to 31st March. 1937, and I hope to reach a decision very shortly.

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