HC Deb 01 March 1972 vol 832 cc400-1
31. Mr. Sydney Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now designate 1973 as a national tree planting year, following discussions and correspondence between his Department and the hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth.

Mr. Peter Walker

My Department has had discussions with the local authority associations and has decided to proceed with a tree planting year in 1973. We will now have consultations with the horticultural trade and the voluntary amenity bodies.

I am establishing a committee under the chairmanship of a Minister from my Department to organise a nation-wide campaign in which I hope local authorities, industry, amenity organisations, youth organisations and schools will take part.

Mr. Chapman

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the wide welcome his answer will receive from a great section of the public? May I congratulate him on this decision? Does he agree that the whole purpose of this plan is to invite the voluntary donation of trees from all sections of the community to be planted where they are most needed, in our towns and cities?

Mr. Walker

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for those remarks. The grant is already available to improvement areas and it has enabled many areas of urban cities to be improved in this way. I hope, however, that the campaign will mean a substantial extension of these activities.

Mr. William Price

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with the present legislation governing the preservation of trees?

Mr. Walker

A great deal more activity is now taking place under legislation in this sphere, but I am always willing to heed any suggestions that the hon. Gentleman might care to put to me on this topic.

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