HC Deb 02 November 1948 vol 457 cc649-50
2. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many Scottish landlords have dedicated their planted land to the growing of trees; and what acreage has been planted to the nearest available date.

Mr. Woodburn

No dedication agreement has yet been completed, but seven agreements are awaiting legal completion and plans for a further 85 estates are in course of preparation. Owners of an additional 116 estates have intimated their willingness to consider dedication. Up to date afforestation grants have been paid in respect of 2,880 acres planted on private estates during the season 1947#48.

Mr. Rankin

In view of the relative failure of this scheme and the future timber needs of the country, is my right hon. Friend aware that many people are now thinking that stronger steps than dedication ought to be taken with regard to this problem?

Mr. Woodburn

The Forestry Commission are looking into this, but it is much better if we proceed on the basis of goodwill than any kind of compulsion.

Major McCallum

When does the Secretary of State think the Forestry Commission will be in a position to provide labour to assist those who are dedicating or who have dedicated, because I understand there is no labour available to assist them?

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

Would the Minister agree that it is too early yet to judge whether this is a relative failure or not, and is it not a fact that owners in some cases have held back because of the irrevocable nature of the covenant to which they are asked to agree, but that now they are coming forward and there is every hope that they will do so in large numbers?

Mr. Woodburn

I quite agree that there has been a good deal of misunderstanding and owners have not been very well informed of all the particulars of this scheme. Steps are being taken to bring better knowledge to them.

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