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Afforestation (Land Allocation)

Volume 440: debated on Monday 21 July 1947

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46.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is satisfied that the fullest efforts are being made to use all available home-grown timber which is suitable for housing and furniture making, with a view to increasing the timber supplies immediately and enabling this woodland to he replanted in accordance with the re-afforestation schemes of the Forestry Commission, in Freference to taking over fresh agricultural land.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that mature timber in parts of North Devon, mainly ash, oak and beech, is available or could he made available for the furniture trade and that, if it was taken, it would enable land to be used for replanting trees, instead of taking fresh agricultural land?

If my hon. Friend will, give me any specific cases and the exact areas where this happens to be the case, I can assure him that ready use will be made of it.

47.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps are taken before land is planted with trees under Forestry Commission schemes to ensure that the land is suitable for growing trees; that no other land in the district is more suitable; and that land of greater value for agriculture is not being absorbed.

Only land placed at their disposal by the Minister of Agricul- ture or by the Secretary of State for Scotland can be used by the Forestry Commissioners for afforestation purposes. Before each acquisition, the suitability of the land for growing trees is determined by technically qualified officers, and agreement is reached between the Agricultural Department and the Forestry Commission as to the land to be used for afforestation purposes. Land of greater value to agriculture is not allocated for afforestation.

Does my right hon. Friend realise that agricultural land which has proved unsuitable for growing trees over a number of years has been allocated to the planting of trees, again in North Devon, and will he look into the case and see if there is any other land which is more suitable for afforestation?

I am not aware that there is any land suitable for afforestation which has been reserved for agriculture, unless there is a real agricultural use for that particular land, but I will gladly look into any case which any hon. Member brings to my notice.