§ Mr. Ron Davies
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the release of agricultural land for afforestation.
§ Mr. Gummer
On 16 March 1988 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment made a statement to the House which set out the Government's462W objectives for forestry policy in England. In this we foresaw that the main potential for afforestation in England lay on arable land and improved grassland which may no longer be needed for food production.
In addition, there would be some scope for broadleaved and mixed woodlands on unimproved land but the Forestry Commission was instructed not to approve new planting of predominantly conifers in the uplands of England. The only exception would be small areas where it was clear that such planting would be environmentally acceptable.
I believe that this approach is still valid.