HC Deb 21 November 1962 vol 667 cc1197-8
19. Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has for a review of forest policy; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Noble

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer given by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 19th November, 1962, to my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Gibson-Watt).

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a feeling in Scotland now of a need for a much more rational plan for the Forestry Commission in its endeavours to acquire land not suitable for agriculture?

Mr. Noble

It is exactly this problem which is being considered at the moment.

Mr. Hoy

Even if the Commission makes representations as to the purchase of more land and even if it has to take it compulsorily, it is entirely dependent on the Secretary of State whether permission is granted. Is it the intention to give more power to the Commission to allow it to get on with its own job?

Mr. Noble

Not more power, but I have great sympathy with the Commission in wanting to plant up extra land where land is suitable for this purpose.

Mr. Brewis

Will my right hon. Friend bring to the notice of his colleagues how much it would help the forestry industry if more home-grown timber could be used for such things as pit props, fencing and telegraph poles?

Mr. Noble

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the Secretary of State aware that there is growing unemployment in the south-west of Scotland? Will he direct the attention of the Commission to the fact that a great deal of afforestation might be done, thus giving employment to unemployed miners?

Mr. Noble

I will certainly look at that problem.

Mr. Willis

As the Forestry Commission in Scotland is under the Secretary of State's direction, why should it be left to the Minister of Agriculture to make statements about its activities in Scotland?

Mr. Noble

It is fairly common practice in this and other fields where responsibilities are shared between Ministers.

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