HC Deb 12 March 1969 vol 779 cc1352-3
12. Mr. Maclennan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has now received proposals from the Highlands and Islands Development Board for the development of the Strath of Kildonan; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ross

No, Sir. I understand that the Board is now having final discussions with interested organisations about possibilities for this area.

Mr. Maclennan

I thank my right hon. Friend for his indication that these discussions are final. Will they include discussions with the local crofting communities? Will the development proposed be concerned with the twin objectives of obtaining the most productive integrated land use and better employment opportunities in the area?

Mr. Ross

There is no doubt that this is the aim of the study. I know that my hon. Friend is concerned about the time that it has taken, but it involves discussions with a considerable number of organisations. My hon. Friend mentioned the Crofters' Union. I understand that discussions have taken place with that body, and also with the Scottish Landowners, the National Farmers' Union and the Forestry Commission.

Mr. Alasdair Mackenzie

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when the Crofters Commission was set up 14 years ago, it devoted some attention to the Strath of Kildonan and regarded it as one of the best areas in the Highlands for rehabilitation? Is he further aware that, on being set up in 1965, the Highlands and Islands Development Board immediately set to work on the survey. We have been told frequently that the results of the survey would be forthcoming in a short time. I would be grateful to have some assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that they will be published in the near future.

Mr. Ross

This is not within my personal initiative, but I understand that the Board is at a final stage in respect of its proposals. It has been assisted in its task by the work done by the Crofters Commission and its discussions with that body.

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