HC Deb 03 November 1947 vol 443 cc1336-7
51. Earl Winterton

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that there are in the western and southern counties thousands of acres of former standard tree woodland, without saleable underwood, which shortage of manpower and plants will prevent the Forestry Commission or private owners re-planting for many years; and as there have been several successful experiments in converting, by bulldozers, such land into agricultural usage, will he cause a survey of such areas to be made with a view greatly to increasing cereal production next year.

Mr. G. Brown

I am aware that there is a considerable acreage of felled woodland throughout the country and that replanting will take some time, but the answer to the second part of the Question is "No, Sir." Even where clearance by bulldozers is practicable, and often it is not, the resulting increase in cereal productions would have to be very substantial to justify the labour and the cost involved, and in any case this could not be achieved by 1948. However, my right hon. Friend is prepared to consider my area which is brought to his notice appearing to be specially suitable for this treatment.

Earl Winterton

Is the Minister aware that my own experience is the direct opposite of the answer with which his officials have provided him? I can assure him and his right hon. Friend that it is perfectly feasible from an economic point of view.

Mr. Brown

I knew about the noble Lord's experience. I understand that it docs not really invalidate what I have said, but we shall be very happy to look at it again.