§ Sir Hector Monro
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his policy on the location of forestry in Scotland.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
My right hon. and learned Friend's policy remains that of encouraging the expansion of forestry in Scotland in suitable locations, so that the economic and social life of rural areas may continue to benefit from forestry activity, with suitable environmental safeguards so as to protect Scotland's natural beauty and wildlife. The new tax and grant arrangements will offer scope for more people to invest in forestry and will increase the incentive to plant in lowland areas.671W
The present consultation arrangements for forestry planting grant, whose effectiveness will be enhanced under the proposed new grant regime, ensure that any significant planting proposal which is the subject of an unresolved objection from the local authority or, in respect of specially protected areas, from the statutory conservation agencies, is referred to the Secretary of State before any decision is taken to pay grant. My right hon. and learned Friend currently has before him proposals on forestry from the Countryside Commission for Scotland and from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and will be considering in that context whether there is scope for further improvement in the present arrangements.