Mr. John David Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been the change in acreage in forestry during the past five years; what is the present level of support for private afforestation schemes; and if he will make a statement on the future prospects for forestry in Northern Ireland.
§ Dr. Boyson
The available information is as follows:
- (a) The area planted with trees on land under the control of the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland was 53,943 hectares on 31 March 1981, and 56,618 hectares on 31 March 1985; in the five years to 31 March 1985, grants were paid on approximately 500 hectares of new private planting, and there are an estimated 13,000 hectares of privately owned forest at present.
- (b) In 1984–85, £37,837 was paid out in grants for private afforestation schemes.
The prospects for forestry depend on the availability of suitable land and resources in both the public and the private sector.