HC Deb 05 April 1967 vol 744 c216
8. Mr. G. Campbell

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he is taking to enable the Forestry Commission to assist the development of ski slopes, ancillary winter sports facilities and access to them in the Cairngorm area.

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Dr. J. Dickson Mabon)

The Forestry Commission has already helped to develop winter sports in the Cairngorms by leasing land to the Cairngorms Winter Sports Development Board, by providing a camping site near Loch Morlich which is open all the year round, and by contributing towards the cost of improving the access road past Glenmore Lodge.

Wider and specific powers for the Commission to provide facilities of this kind are being sought in the Countryside (Scotland) Bill. The hon. Member will, however, appreciate that these activities are secondary to the Commission's main functions.

Mr. Campbell

Is there not a great deal more that the Forestry Commission could do, as it owns the relevant land, to co-ordinate activities and provide for the increasing number of skiers without needing or waiting for Clause 57 of the Countryside Bill?

Dr. Mabon

I think that the hon. Gentleman is anticipating the negotiations which are going on. It is true that arguments are going on about nominal rents, and so on, and the question whether or not land may be sold. I think that we ought to wait to see how the negotiations go. The Forestry Commission ought to be given credit for what it has done so far.

Mr. Dalyell

Is my hon. Friend aware that one simple, cheap measure which would be helpful out of all proportion to the cost is for hoteliers themselves, in places like Aviemore, to arrange to have "full-up" notices, because many travellers complain that they have to call at seven or eight hotels before they can get accommodation?

Dr. Mabon

That is a somewhat different question, which I shall pass on to my noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State.