HC Deb 26 May 1965 vol 713 cc588-9
12. Mr. Manuel

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will indicate the services provided free by his Department to private woodland owners and the cost of these services in each of the last five years.

Mr. Ross

The Forestry Commission gives technical advice on schemes proposed by owners for systematic woodland management. A small amount of advice on general forestry matters and on questions such as tree diseases is also given. The cost in each of the last three years was £4,600, £6,700, and £5,500 respectively. Separate figures are not readily available for earlier years.

Mr. Manuel

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that there are many thousands of acres. of land in private ownership that are suitable for forestry planting but which are not being developed? Where the Forestry Commission is running short of land for a staged programme over the years ahead, will he do all he can to help it to acquire land now lying useless?

Mr. Ross

I think that we want to encourage both the Forestry Commission and private planting in respect of our needs, and this is a valuable and inexpensive service, and one worthy of continuation.

The Earl of Dalkeith

Can the Secretary of State give any indication of the immense value that the Forestry Commission has derived from the private sector of the industry in the form of experience, knowledge, trial plantations and experimental plantings over very many years?

Mr. Ross

There is a very considerable amount of co-operation and exchange of information between all people interested in forestry, and I hope that it will continue.

Mr. George Y. Mackie

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we need to look at the development of forestry as something that should be integrated with agriculture; and that this requires taking a whole district, regardless of estate boundaries, in order to plan the planting of trees to fit in with agriculture, sport, and everything else?

Mr. Ross

That is a bit beyond the original Question, but I am happy to agree with the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Capital Gains Tax provisions in the Budget will have a very serious effect on private forestry development? Will he urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer to look at this again with this point in mind?

Mr. Speaker

Order. This Question is about free services being provided, which I think is a different question from that which the hon. Member asks.

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