HC Deb 01 November 1979 vol 972 cc1430-1
9. Mr. W. Benyon

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when next he will meet the chairman of the Forestry Commission.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Jerry Wiggin)

Ministers responsible for forestry meet the chairman of the Forestry Commission from time to time. The date of the next meeting has not been arranged.

Mr. Benyon

When my hon. Friend meets the chairman of the Forestry Commission will he seek to determine and publish a target figure for the total forestry acreage to be planted over the next 25 years so that the industry will have the chance to plan ahead?

Mr. Wiggin

I am sympathetic to my hon. Friend's request. Ministers are awaiting proposals from the Forestry Commission, arising from its consultative document on "The Wood Production Outlook in Britain" and other relevant studies.

Mr. Cockeram

Does my hon. Friend appreciate the significance of the private forestry sectors in the country? Will he ensure that they and not merely the public sector receive the support of the Forestry Commission?

Mr. Wiggin

I entirely endorse my hon. Friend's remarks. He will be pleased to know that there is an encouraging increase in applications for basis III dedication schemes.

Mr. Strang

Will the hon. Gentleman assure the House that this successful example of public enterprise will not be sacrificed as part of the Government's public expenditure cuts?

Mr. Wiggin

I am happy to give the hon. Gentleman that assurance.