HC Deb 04 March 1957 vol 566 cc23-4
56. Mr. Kimball

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware of the decline in the number of hedgerow trees throughout the United Kingdom; and what action he is taking.

Mr. Godber

My right hon. Friend is aware of the decline, and this was one of the factors that led him and the Secretary of State for Scotland to appoint the Committee on Hedgerow and Farm Timber. The views of the various interests concerned on the Committee's many recommendations have now been obtained, and the Forestry Commission is considering them.

Mr. Kimball

Will my hon. Friend think very seriously about attaching a replanting condition to any further felling licences for hedgerow timber?

Mr. Godber

My right hon. Friend would, I know, like to look at that very sympathetically, and he will certainly pass it on to the Forestry Commission; but I would say straight out that it does seem to present certain practical difficulties which would need looking at most carefully.

Mr. Nicholson

Is my hon. Friend aware that this country's heritage of hard woods in our woods and copses, particularly in the south of England, is rapidly vanishing for ever, and that many woods and copses are being bought by timber merchants, felled, and left in an utterly derelict condition? Will he bear in mind that this really is a serious problem and that there is not much time left to wait and see what is to be done about it?

Mr. Godber

My hon. Friend is referring now not to hedgerow timber but to a rather wider aspect, which does come under the Forestry Commission but does not, I think, arise under this Question.