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Forestry Commission

Volume 22: debated on Tuesday 20 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many employees were employed, in Scotland, by the Forestry Commission in 1970, 1975, 1980, and at the most recent available date; and if he will categorise them by type of work.

[pursuant to his reply, 7 April 1982, c. 395]: The information is given in the following table:

Forestry Commission Employees in Scotland
19701975*19801981
Non-Industrial:
Senior Staff†191010
Professional Forestry Staff69888281
Foresters (local supervisory staff)425367362359
Land Agents and Clerks of Works (Estate)20262727
Engineers (Civil and Mechanical)53546764
Cartographers10292930
Administrative/Office Staff‡214428397400
Scientists24242423
Non-Industrial Total8161,025998994
Industrial:
Forestry Workers2,2971,9922,0651,893
Engineering (Civil and Mechanical) and Estate Workers535412437429
Industrial Total2,8322,4042,5022,322
Grand Total All Staff3,6483,4293,5003,316

Notes:

* Some 300 HQ staff were transferred to Edinburgh when the Forestry Commission headquarters was moved from England to Scotland in 1974–75.

†Excludes the chairman and part-time commissioners.

‡Includes executive and clerical staff, messengers, telephonists and so on.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the Forestry Commission's harvesting programme in Scotland over the next decade in terms of volume; and what the value will be in cash terms at current prices.

[pursuant to his reply, 7 April 1982, c. 395]: The Forestry Commission's harvesting programme is based on a forecast of production which is updated every five years, the current programme being based on a 1977 forecast which is due to be revised later this year. The 1977 forecast provided estimates of average annual production for each of the four quinquennia to 1996, and the relevant data for Scotland for the next decade are as follows:

million cubic metres (over bark)
Operation1982–861987–91
Thinning0·620·76
Clear Felling0·540·78
Total1·161·54
Over the past three or four years prices for British timber have fluctuated markedly, reflecting variations in world prices for wood and wood products. The total volume harvested by the commission in Scotland for the year ended 31 March 1982 is expected to have been 1·1 million cubic metres, giving an income of about £15 million—inclusive of VAT. Over the next decade income is expected to increase in line with the production forecast, but the production levels actually achieved and the income realised will depend on market conditions.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report details of the Forestry Commission's new planting programme for Scotland for each year over the next decade.

[pursuant to his reply, 7 April 1982, c. 395]: New planting by the Forestry Commission in Scotland for the next decade is currently estimated as follows:

Year ending 31 MarchHectares
1982–838,300
1983–847,000
1984–855,600
1985–864,700
1986–87 and thereafter not less than4,500
These estimates are, of course, reviewed from time to time.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the current capital value of (a) land in Scotland owned by the Forestry Commission; and (b) the trees on Forestry Commission plantations in Scotland.

[pursuant to his reply, 7 April 1982, c. 395.]: The estimated capital value of the land held in Scotland at 31 March 1981, expressed at October 1981 prices, was £187,923,000. The estimated value of trees was £291,218,000.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the current area of Forestry Commission plantations in Scotland; what proportion of this area is covered by mature forest; what is the projected total area under plantation in Scotland over the next 10 years; and what proportion of this total is intended to be covered by mature forest.

[pursuant to his reply, 7 April 1982, c. 395.]: The area of the Forestry Commission's plantations in Scotland at 31 March 1981, the latest date for which figures are available, was 511,600 hectares.Commercial plantations may be said to have matured when they have reached the most economic age for felling, and this varies according to species and rates of growth. It is the commission's normal practice to clear fell at this stage of development and it is estimated that some 21,000 hectares will be clear felled over the next 10 years.Over the same period the estimated area under plantations will rise to some 570,200 hectares, all of which it is intended to grow to maturity as I have defined it. This figure, however, includes such plantations as may be sold under the provisions of the Forestry Act 1981.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the total estimated net gain, or loss, each year over the next decade, of planted Forestry Commission land in Scotland, taking the proposed planting and harvesting programmes in Scotland into account.

[pursuant to his reply, 7 April 1982, c. 395]: The area of the commission's planted land in Scotland is expected to increase over the next decade in accordance with the new planting referred to in the reply given to the right hon. Member's question about the new planting programme. Information on sales of plantations under the Forestry Act 1981 cannot be given on a year-to-year basis for this period.Clear felled areas are normally restocked quickly and for record purposes continue to be classified as plantations.