HC Deb 19 November 1973 vol 864 cc317-8W
Mr. Burden

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that land that is being acquired for the subsidised afforestation of softwood timber that can be imported at an economic price is suitable for the rearing of sheep; and what steps he intends taking to ensure that it is retained for that purpose in view of the shortage of meat.

Mr. Anthony Stodart

As explained in the reply given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate (Mr. Ramsden) on 24th October we are introducing a number of changes to ensure that forestry forms part of a really effective pattern of rural land use. These include a new procedure under which the Forestry Commission, in administering grant aid to private forestry, will consult with the Agricultural Departments on land use aspects of woodland owners' proposals. We are also reconstituting the commission's regional advisory committees to include representatives of agricultural interests; and we shall be looking to these committees to advise both on broad area strategy for the land use aspects of forestry, and on individual cases of doubt arising in the administration of grants. These measures should ensure that, in situations such as my hon. Friend describes, a sound balance is struck between forestry and other competing calls upon our limited resources of rural land.

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