HC Deb 15 June 1981 vol 6 cc712-3
2. Mr. Coleman

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the Forestry Commission concerning the sale of property and land in the ownership of the Forestry Commission.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

The land and associated property managed by the Forestry Commission is vested in the forestry Ministers, of which I am one, and not in the commission itself. Ministers consult regularly with the commission on policy matters, including the disposal of land.

Mr. Coleman

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that an offer was made by the Forestry Commission and accepted by its tenants at Rheola in my constituency that they should be able to purchase their houses? Is he further aware that the offer has since been withdrawn and the tenants told that they must now negotiate with the Aberpergwm estate to purchase those houses? Will he investigate the matter so as to give these Forestry Commission tenants the same rights as he is forcing local authorities to give their tenants?

Mr. Edwards

I shall certainly look into the matter that the hon. Gentleman has raised. I am not clear from his question whether he is suggesting that property which relates to a particular service, as in the case of the Forestry Commission, should in every case be disposed of to the tenants. That is clearly a matter in which one must consider the circumstances of the case.

Mr. Hooson

As the Forestry Commission has been in existence for more than 60 years, is not it reasonable that the new Forestry Act should have brought about some turnover in the capital invested in various forms of forestry?

Mr. Edwards

I am anxious to see an expansion of forest planting. I believe that the best way to achieve this is to make some use of the existing assets and to make the best possible use of the financial resources available.