HC Deb 13 March 1958 vol 584 cc597-8
2. Mr. Kimball

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, as representing the Lord President of the Council, whether he is satisfied that in undertaking forestry work the Nature Conservancy is acting within its terms of reference and is not duplicating similar work already being carried out with public funds by the Forestry Commission; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Godber

The Nature Conservancy does not in general undertake forestry work. Such forestry activities as it undertakes are on a very small scale and are ancillary either to its researches into applied ecology or to the maintenance of certain natural or semi-natural areas to serve as living museums of flora and fauna. My noble Friend is satisfied that these activities are within the Conservancy's terms of reference and are not duplicating work already being carried out by the Forestry Commission.

Mr. Kimball

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Nature Conservancy already owns 3,000 acres of unproductive woodlands, which are a shocking example to farmers and landowners throughout the country? Is he aware that many of us feel this research work could be carried out far more economically by the universities and the Forestry Commission? Would my hon. Friend look at all the forestry activities of the Nature Conservancy to see if in the present economic situation they can be properly managed?

Mr. Godber

I am aware that the acreage quoted by my hon. Friend is approximately correct, but he is a little hard on the Nature Conservancy. It consults closely the Forestry Commission in connection with some of these pieces of land.