asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware that trees have been felled in an area, of which he has been informed, by contractors under his Department before any agreement has been made and in disregard of the terms of the draft agreement with the owner, in violation of the requirements of good felling and without regard to representations made to his officials on the subject; and will he take steps to rectify grievances in this case and avoid such damage and breach of contract elsewhere in future?
Yes, Sir. I regret that, owing to a misunderstanding, felling commenced on this estate before the agreement had been signed and before the work had been authorised. Steps are being taken to rectify the grievances in this case and to avoid a similar happening in the future.
While thanking my right hon. Friend for his frank confession, may I ask him whether he recognises that the trees that have been felled and that were reserved for that particular estate, are no longer of value to the estate as felled trees because they cannot grow any more.
I am very sorry, and I regret what happened in this case, but I cannot do any more than promise that we will take any steps we can to rectify it.