§ Mr. Graham
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what advice he took, prior to the announcement of his approval for further planting by the Forestry Commission in Caithness and Sutherland, on the environmental effects of this planting other than from the Nature Conservancy Council; on what grounds he overruled the Nature Conservancy Council's advice; and whether he will place in the Library maps showing the areas approved.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
In addition to advice from the Nature Conservancy Council, my right hon. and learned Friend had the benefit of the views of the Scottish Development's ecological adviser and the Forestry Commission's wildlife and conservation officer, who had inspected the five sites concerned. His decision to allow planting to take place on 1,059 hectares out of the total area of 2,485 hectares was a carefully balanced one which took account not only of nature conservation needs but also of the desirability of the Forestry Commission maintaining its planting programme and thus providing continued employment for its local work force.
I shall arrange for maps showing the areas to be planted and those to be left unplanted to be placed in the Library as soon as possible.