HC Deb 02 May 1939 vol 346 cc1693-4
54. Mr. R. Gibson

asked the right hon. and gallant Member for Rye, as representing the Forestry Commissioners, how many farms are intended to be diverted from use as farms by the Forestry Com mission in Scotland and planted with trees in 1939; where they are situated; how many families will be displaced in consequence; and whether he has any statement to make on the relation between this policy and the need for increasing food stuffs, in view of the international situation?

Colonel Sir George Courthope

No farm will be completely diverted by the Forestry Commissioners to afforestation in 1939, but small areas will be planted on eight farms situated as follows: Glasvaar, Knockdow, Balure, Arichonan and Gortanronich, Argyll; Castle O'er, Dumfries, Wauchope, Roxburgh and Kings-house, Perth. In two cases the occupiers terminated their tenancies and in one case the present owner would have cleared off the sheep in any event. No families will be displaced; in fact employment will be provided for 30 additional men. The effect on the national food supply of the changes to which reference has just been made will be infinitesimal. In the Acland Report of 1918 it was calculated that the whole afforestation scheme over a period of 80 years would not ultimately reduce the home supply of mutton and venison by more than two-thirds of 1 per cent.

55. Mr. Kennedy

asked the right hon. and gallant Member for Rye, as repre- senting the Forestry Commissioners, what progress is being made towards the fulfilment of the Government's undertaking to acquire land for afforestation purposes and the creation of additional forest reserves; and whether any information is available as to the acreage of land not usable for general agricultural purposes now available for purposes of afforestation in Scotland?

Sir G. Courthope

The Forestry Commissioners are unaware of any undertaking such as that to which the hon. Member refers, but the acquisition of land for afforestation has been proceeding actively. The area asquired during the year ended 31st March last was 72,029 acres of which 52,027 are plantable. The Commissioners have no specific information as to the acreage of land suitable and available for afforestation in Scotland, but they are satisfied that there is ample to meet their immediate requirements.