HC Deb 16 December 1964 vol 704 cc379-80
37. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received about the recovery of peatlands and the possibility of increasing the cattle-carrying capacity of Scottish uplands and lowlands; and whether he will have the prospects surveyed with a view to a progressive programme of recovery being begun.

Mr. Ross

Representations on these and other matters were recently made to me by the Scottish Peat and Land Development Association following a conference it convened in Edinburgh last month. I hope to arrange a meeting with the Association at which these matters can be discussed.

Mr. Woodburn

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that these experiments started in Scotland and have been continued with great success in Newfoundland, recovering thousands of acres of land for cultivation? Would not this be a very valuable way of resettling more people on the land in Scotland and making use of large areas at present thinly populated?

Mr. Ross

Yes, indeed. My right hon. Friend will be aware that considerable work is still being done on this in Scotland. Indeed, we have had a very interesting and forthcoming report from the Highlands and Islands Advisory Panel in relation to land in the Highland area, part of which is covered by the Question.

Mr. W. Baxter

Before my right hon. Friend proceeds further with this matter, would he make full investigation and inquiry into the very heavy amount of Government expenditure which was incurred by the experimental base in the Slamannan moors in Stirlingshire which was actually gifted away, I understand, to a firm by the previous Government, at considerable loss to the community and the Exchequer?