asked the Minister of Agriculture on what grounds, he issued a licence for the felling of 201,113 cubic feet of timber on the Ashley Hill Estate, Berkshire, in view of the fact that applications to fell smaller quantities of mature timber are being refused in different parts of the country on the grounds that the quota for 1952 has been taken up.
The Commission considered that the felling of this timber was the best silvicultural treatment to adopt. It was fully intended to arrange that the felling and restocking should proceed in orderly stages over some years, but unfortunately by an error, for which the Commissioners wish to express their regret, a licence was issued for the whole quantity on 22nd December, 1951. Licences issued in England up to the end of February amounted to 57 per cent. of the hardwood quota and 61 per cent. of the conifer quota for the year ending 30th September, 1952, so it is not correct to say that licences are being refused on the grounds that the quota for 1952 has been exhausted.
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that the Forestry Commission is granting licences to fell timber more favourably to applicants who are prepared to sell the land after clearance to the Forestry Commission than to applicants who are prepared to undertake to replant themselves and if he will issue a direction that this practice is to stop.
The suggestion that the Forestry Commission give favourable treatment to those applicants for felling licences who are prepared to sell their land to the Commission was discussed at a recent meeting of the Home Grown Timber Advisory Committee, and I understand that the Committee accepted the assurances of the Commissioners that it had no foundation in fact. It arises, no doubt, because some owners are unable to undertake replanting, which is normally made a condition of a licence to clear fell, and therefore offer the land to the Commissioners for replanting.