§ Lord Mottistone
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What steps are being taken to prevent the continuance of routine thinning of forests, especially in southern England, until the bulk of the trees brought down by the recent hurricane have been disposed of.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Trumpington)
It would not be feasible to place a ban on thinning, as a large part of the thinning planned by woodland owners over the next year or two will already have been given felling licensing approval or, alternatively, have been approved in plans of operations under the Forestry Commission's grant schemes. Furthermore, it would be unreasonable to prevent thinning where this was essential for the future well-being of the woodlands concerned. It can be assumed, however, that woodland owners who had intended to carry out thinnings (especially those in southern England) will take account of the changed marketing situation in deciding whether to proceed at this stage. The Forest Windblow Action Committee, set up by the Forestry Commission, is already giving advice to owners on the priorities for harvesting blown and standing timber.