HC Deb 10 December 1998 vol 322 cc276-7W
Mr. Russell Brown

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he intends to prepare a strategy for forestry in Scotland. [63808]

Mr. Macdonald

Forestry is an important part of the rural scene in Scotland. Its importance will grow as timber production doubles over the next 15 years and Scotland's forests and woodlands become more valuable for recreation and wildlife. We believe that it is important to have a strategy for forestry in Scotland which will provide a context for forestry policies and programmes. This will ensure that forestry integrates well with other aspects of the rural economy and plays its full part in the future well-being of Scotland.

Clearly, the Scottish Executive will want to determine the form and content of a Scottish Forestry Strategy. Nevertheless, we consider that it would be helpful to prepare an issues paper which could form the basis for consultation on a strategy.

We have therefore asked the Forestry Commission to set this work in hand, in liaison with other relevant Government Departments and Agencies, with a view to publishing an issues paper early next year.

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