HC Deb 17 November 1965 vol 720 cc1143-4
47. Mr. Buchan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will refer to the Highlands and Islands Development Board recent sales of large estates, such as the Ben Alder Estate of 22,300 acres in Inverness-shire, with a view to using their powers to have such estates taken over by the Board and developed in the interests of the people of the Highlands.

Mr. Willis

I think that the initiative in this matter can appropriately be left to the Board.

Mr. Buchan

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that many people in Scotland, particularly in the Highlands, are becoming outraged at this traffic in huge sections of our native land? Is it not time that this was brought to the attention of a public board in order to develop the full potential of this land, both in agriculture and forestry, in the interests of the people in this area where a real land hunger exists?

Mr. Willis

I have no reason to doubt that the Highlands and Islands Development Board will keep its eye upon these things and will, if it requires land in order to carry out its development plans, put forward proposals to acquire it.

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

Is the Minister aware of a quite outrageous case at this moment which runs entirely counter to the Government's declared policy in setting up the Highland Development Board? A large part of the Island of Coll is being acquired by a Dutchman for the purpose, declared publicly by himself, of starting it as a sporting estate. Does not this run quite counter to everything for which the Government stand? Will he take some action?

Mr. Willis

I am aware of this case. If the Board decides that something should be done in Coll, it has all the powers to do it, in spite of the Dutchman.