HC Deb 21 March 1972 vol 833 cc1324-5
5. Mr. David Clark

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he now expects to publish his review of forestry.

26. Mr. Guy Barnett

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will now publish the report of the review recently undertaken in his Department of the future of forestry policy.

Mr. Anthony Stodart

My right hon. Friend will be making a statement between the Easter and Whitsun Recesses.

Mr. Clark

I thank the Minister for that reply. He will remember that on 16th November he promised to publish the review as soon as practicable. Does he realise that in the intervening period there has been considerable disquiet in the uplands areas about our entry into Europe and its effect upon farming and forestry? Will he confirm that the review will be published?

Mr. Stodart

I regret the delay since my original statement. This is an extremely complex inquiry involving many considerations. I accept to a limited degree what the hon. Gentleman has said about anxiety in the uplands areas, although I believe the balance is now being restored between what I regard as so important, and that is farming and forestry combined. There will be a publication.

Mr. Barnett

Is the Minister aware of the widespread public interest in this subject of those who use the countryside for recreation? Will he confirm that the report will be published and that there will be a debate on the subject in the House?

Mr. Stodart

The question of a debate is for a channel slightly above my level, but I will certainly draw the attention of my right hon. Friend to this question. I confirm that there will be a publication.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Will my hon. Friend tell the House the acreage of Forestry Commission planting this year and the percentage of home-grown soft timber which is used in this country?

Mr. Stodart

Not, I am afraid, without notice.