§ Sir Hector Monro
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consideration he has given to the report by the Nature Conservancy Council on nature conservation and afforestation in Great Britain; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Rifkind
I am at present studying this report, which was published on Tuesday 24 June 1986, together with my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Wales and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. I welcome the effort which the Nature Conservancy Council has put into the important debate which is taking place at present on forestry and the environment generally, and in particular how the need for increased forestry planting can be met alongside the need to preserve and develop important wildlife habitats as part of our objective of striking a reasonable balance between forestry, other land use interests and nature conservation. The achievement and maintenance of such a balance will require close and continuing co-operation among the various interests.
My right hon. Friends and I are grateful for the comprehensive way in which the NCC has addressed itself to the subject. We shall, of course, consider its contribution, together with papers and reports from other interests concerned, most carefully.