HC Deb 05 December 1975 vol 901 c752W
Mr. Stephen Ross

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in view of the effect of Dutch elm disease on the countryside, he will now seek to amend the present law relating to felling licences so as to include trees under 825 cubic feet.

Mr. Bishop

I have been asked to reply. The limitation in Section 9(3)(b)(ii) of the Forestry Act 1967 ensures that almost all fellings on a commercial scale are subject to control, and the extent of other felling under Section 9(3)(b)(i) is unlikely to be great, though it may be of significance in specific localities. We therefore have no plans to amend the exemption limits at present.

However, we recognise that further action to discourage unnecessary felling might have a part to play in maintaining tree cover in the countryside in the longer term, alongside measures to encourage conservation and new planting. This is something my right hon. Friend will need to consider carefully together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment when the expected reports from the Countryside Commission and the Tree Council are available.