To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what recent communication he has had with the Forestry Commission concerning environmental surveys conducted in Hertsmere in Hertfordshire, evaluating the effects of acid rain pollution on the(a) arboreal and (b) aquatic environment in the area; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Michael Spicer
Following receipt of a tree health survey which was undertaken in April by Greenpeace and which identified a number of individual damaged trees in the constituency of Hertsmere, my right hon. Friend sought the Forestry Commission's professional advice. Two scientists from the commission's research division visited the constituency on 1 June and examined a number of the sites recorded by Greenpeace. They confirmed the existence of damaged trees. However many were at sites with local problems, including soil disturbance and waterlogging. The commission pointed out that damage can be influenced by a wide variety of factors of which air pollution is only one. Air pollution can also derive from a number of different sources: neither the commission nor Greenpeace were able to determine the precise cause of the damage in this area.