HL Deb 11 February 1988 vol 493 cc398-9WA
Lord Chelwood

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether sufficient money will be available under the Task Force Trees Grant Scheme to meet the assesssed and agreed requests for grants; what percentage of the cost of purchase and planting they intend to meet; and why there are wide variations of grant allocation between counties affected by the hurricane.

The Earl of Caithness

Sufficient money has been made available for 1987–88 and 1988–89 to enable significant progress to be made towards replacing the trees lost in the storm of 16th October. This is bound to be a long-term task, and we are having discussions with the Countryside Commission in order to be in a position to make a further announcement in time for the start of the next planting season later this year. The rate of grant for planting by local authorities will be 90 per cent. of eligible expenditure up to 31st March 1988 and will then revert to the normal figure of 50 per cent. The rate of grant for planting by private owners will be in the range 50–75 per cent. up to 31st March 1988, and then normally in the range 40–66⅔ per cent. I understand from the Countryside Commission that the amounts of grant allocated to particular counties in 1987–88 reflected the extent of damage suffered and differences in the size of bids.