HC Deb 27 April 1988 vol 132 c342
11. Mr. Barry Field

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the total value of forestry products from the Isle of Wight for the last five years.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

The value of timber and Christmas trees removed from Forestry Commission woodlands on the island between 1 April 1983 and 31 March 1988 was approximately £164,000. The value of produce from private woodlands over that period is not known.

Mr. Field

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that the lack of a broadleaved woodland policy in the past has deprived our world-famous craftsmen and shipwrights of locally grown timber? Is my hon. Friend aware that the wooden ships that sailed out to defeat the Armada off the Isle of Wight, manned by the iron men of England, were built from oak taken from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight? Does my hon. Friend appreciate that, with a county council chairman named Drake, should we have to sail out tomorrow for a similar event we could only do so on pine log rafts?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

I assure my hon. Friend that, although the Forestry Commission headquarters may be in my constituency, we are conscious of the interests of the Isle of Wight. Most of the productive woodlands on the island are managed by the Forestry Commission, which is presently restocking with broad-leaved trees where the soil conditions are suitable. My hon. Friend has had an invitation from the manager to visit the woodlands and he will discover that many of the trees are larches, which are suitable for boat building on the island.