asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied that an adequate programme of tree planting exists on a national scale, particularly in view of the depredations caused during recent years by Dutch elm disease ; and if he will make a statement.
There are no figures available of the actual number of trees being planted nationally. It would not be practicable to try to assemble such figures in view of the number which are planted by private individuals and organisations. I have continually stressed that there is a need to plant more trees and I have encouraged not only local authorities but people everywhere to do so. Central Government is giving financial assistance to tree planting through the Forestry and Countryside Commissions which expect to give grant-aid for this purpose to local authorities and others totalling some £2½ million in the current financial year. It is expected that this level will at least be maintained during the next financial year. There is clearly much more to be done to repair the damage caused by Dutch elm disease and I am keeping the position under constant review.