§ 23. Mr. M. MacMillan
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why the Forestry Commission refuses to undertake planting in the Outer Hebrides and other areas where smaller acreages of planting for shelter belt, amenity, employment and general social reasons is desirable.
§ Mr. Snadden
The Forestry Commission are prepared to undertake planting in areas where soil and climatic conditions are suitable for timber production. Conditions generally in the Outer Hebrides are not favourable for the growth of trees, but the Commission have two small experimental plantations in Lewis and are carefully watching the results of this experiment.
§ Mr. MacMillan
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it is extremely difficult to interest the Forestry Commission in shelter belt planting, for example, in agricultural areas or in any scheme smaller than, say, 300 acres, and would he bring the powers of the Secretary of State to bear upon the Commission and persuade them to interest themselves a little more in the social problems as well as in strategic and large-scale economic planting?
§ Mr. Snadden
While sympathising with the hon. Gentleman on shelter belts, I am sure that he will appreciate that this is really an agricultural matter and that grants are available within the Hill Farming Act for that purpose.