§ 25. Mr. Farr
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement of his policy towards private woodland owners.
§ 26. Mr. Charles Morrison
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to conclude his review of the work of the Forestry Commission.
§ Mr. Anthony Stodart
As already announced, my right hon. Friend and his right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Secretary of State for Wales are conducting a review of forestry policy. It is a wide-ranging one including cost-benefit studies, and I cannot yet say when it will be completed. Their conclusions, which will relate to both public and private sectors, will be announced in due course.
§ Mr. Farr
While thanking my hon. Friend for that statement, may I ask whether he is aware that the costs for private woodland owners have been increasing very rapidly recently? Will he introduce an amended scheme for the owners of dedicated woodlands?
§ Mr. Stodart
There has to be a mandatory review of such grants every three years and that is about to take place. I do not wish to anticipate the outcome of it.
§ Mr. Charles Morrison
In view of the import-saving potential in forestry, can my hon. Friend say whether it is the Government's general intention to increase afforestation, by means of encouraging either the Forestry Commission or the private woodland owners?
§ Mr. Stodart
That is one of the subjects that is being dealt with under the general review.