HC Deb 26 June 1956 vol 555 cc236-8
2 and 3. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government (1) if he will initiate during the months of September and October a national cleaning, grassification, planting and tree planting campaign; if he will ask for the co-operation of all local authorities, industry and other Government Departments; if he will invite other countries, and rural areas in this country, to send gifts of trees to cities and industrial areas; and if he will ask the Forestry Commissioners and other interested bodies to send saplings and other friendship gifts of plants, turf, &c., during this campaign;

(2) if he will consult the Minister of Education during the cleaning, grassification and tree planting campaign with a view to ensuring the co-operation of education authorities, teachers, students and children in the organised protection of trees, plants, turf and cleanliness, the development in each area of a local desire to care for and protect trees, plants, turf, and the keeping of each area clean and tidy.

6. Wing Commander Bullus

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will take steps to secure the planting of more trees in urban areas.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Duncan Sandys)

Trees can contribute a great deal to the charm and cheerfulness of our streets; and I think most of us would be glad to see many more of them. I am today sending a circular to local authorities asking them to make a continuing effort to get more trees planted in towns and villages, where this is appropriate. In particular, I am urging authorities who are carrying out schemes of slum clearance and redevelopment not to miss this unique opportunity to introduce more trees into those areas. In addition, I am having an illustrated technical manual prepared which will give advice on tree planting in towns and will, I hope, help to stimulate interest in this matter.

Mr. Ellis Smith

While appreciating that reply, may I ask the Minister to consider taking some step, such as making a broadcast himself, to stimulate more interest in this subject, especially in industrial centres, so that we can improve the appearance of our country as quickly as possible?

Mr. Fell

On a point of order. I know that the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) would never inflict such words as "grassification" on us if he could help it. I wonder whether you, Mr. Speaker, could tell us how we might be protected from being confronted with such words on the Order Paper?

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of order at all.

Wing Commander Bullus

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this policy will give general satisfaction, especially to those of us who for years have been pressing for more official encouragement of tree planting?

Mr. T. Brown

In view of the statement which he has just made, which we all welcome, would the right hon. Gentleman call for the assistance of "Men of the Trees," who are very helpful on this subject?

Mr. Sandys

I am most anxious to have the co-operation and interest behind this policy of all who care about this matter. I also think that there is a lot to be said for interesting children in this subject from the very start, and the circular which I am sending to local authorities specifically mentions that point.