HC Deb 08 March 1965 vol 708 cc10-1
14. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Land and Natural Resources what estimate he has made of the acreage being planted both by the Commission and private woodland owners during the present season; and how this compares with the acreage over the last five years.

Mr. Skeffington

The Forestry Commission's programme of planting for the current season is 53,000 acres against an annual average of about 59,000 acres for the last five years. I cannot state precisely the acreage which will be planted by private owners, but there is no reason to believe that it will differ greatly from the average for the last five years, which was about 35,000 acres.

Mr. Digby

Is the Minister aware that there is some evidence of a lack of confidence in the industry owing to the rather vague projections of the Government's policy? Will he do everything he can to restore the confidence of those engaged in the forestry industry?

Mr. Skeffington

May I tell the hon. Member that, from such contacts as I have had in the industry, that is not my impression.

Mr. J. E. B. Hill

Does the Minister agree that it is essential that the area of planting by private woodlands should be maintained?

Mr. Skeffington

I entirely agree, and the Ministry will do everything we can to encourage it.

Mr. A. J. Williams

Is my hon. Friend aware of the work which has been done in the Ruhr in the reclamation of these industrial waste lands? Will he encourage the Forestry Commission to co-operate as fully as possible in removing these industrial eyesores?

Mr. Skeffington

Some schemes are already in operation and we are looking at others. If my hon. Friend has any particular areas in mind perhaps he will let me know.

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