HC Deb 22 April 1958 vol 586 cc761-2
26. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to prevent good agricultural land which has been used for food production being used for the purpose of planting trees.

Lord John Hope

My right hon. Friend's authority in this regard is limited to the activities of the Forestry Commission. In deciding whether it should be authorised to plant any land with trees, he takes into consideration the advice given by his agricultural advisers.

Mr. Hughes

Can the noble Lord assure us that it is not the policy of Her Majesty's Government to use good agricultural land, used for breeding good cattle, for the purpose of planting indifferent trees?

Lord John Hope

Each case must be taken on its merits.

Mr. Ross

May we have the agreement of the Joint Under-Secretary that the Minister of State is not, in this case, one of the agricultural advisers?

Lord John Hope

The Minister of State is not one of the agricultural advisers.

Mr. T. Fraser

Has the Joint Under-Secretary given the impression deliberately that the Secretary of State must give permission before agricultural land is planted with trees? Surely, agricultural land is frequently planted with trees without the Secretary of State knowing anything at all about it.

Lord John Hope

Certainly, as far as private landowners are concerned.