§ Lord Brougham and Vaux
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What steps they are taking to prevent the postponement of planned tree planting on farms pending the introduction of the Farm Woodland Premium Scheme on 1st April 1992.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Strathclyde)
My right hon. friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced on 19th November 1991 in reply to a Parliamentary Question from my honourable friend the Member for Esher (House of CommonsOfficial Report, cols. 135–136) that a successor to the Farm Woodland Scheme—to be called the Farm Woodland Premium Scheme—will be introduced on 1st April 1992. In the meantime, applications to enter the existing scheme may be lodged for an extended period up to and including 31st March 1992.
We are conscious that the proposals for the new scheme, which have recently been circulated for consultation, may encourage farmers to consider postponing their planting plans for the present season. In order to avoid a hiatus of this kind pending parliamentary agreement to a revised statutory instrument for the Farm Woodland Premium Scheme, we have decided that any planting approved under the current Farm Woodland Scheme which is undertaken on or after 1st October 1991 will be eligible for the full planting grants under the Forestry Commission's Woodland Grant Scheme, including payment of the Better Land Supplement where appropriate. In all other respects the existing rules of the Farm Woodland Scheme, including the rates of annual payments, will continue to apply.
Any higher grants to be paid under these interim arrangements will be met by the Forestry Commission from existing resources.