HC Deb 09 June 1953 vol 516 cc28-9
44. Sir J. Barlow

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will now give permission to clear blown timber without the contingent requirement of replanting.

Mr. J. Stuart

The representatives of the woodland owners have raised no objection in principle to the Forestry Commissioners' decision to require the replanting of the areas devastated by the January gales, and I do not think I would be justified in asking the Commissioners to reconsider their decision.

Sir J. Barlow

Is my right hon. Friend aware that if he insists upon this replanting clause in issuing licences, undoubtedly a substantial acreage will not be cleared or be planted?

Mr. Stuart

I cannot agree that that is necessarily so. I think that it is very important that the devastated areas should be replanted as soon as possible.

Sir D. Robertson

Whilst appreciating the importance of the point which my right hon. Friend makes, may I ask whether he is satisfied that his Department possesses the legal powers? Is he aware that there is no reference to blown timber in the 1951 Act? Why should a felling licence be issued in respect of timber blown down by an act of God?

Mr. Stuart

I never completed my course at Edinburgh University in reading law and therefore I would rather not comment upon that, but I think that it still remains the case that devastated areas should be replanted.