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Afforestation

Volume 81: debated on Monday 17 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland on how many occasions the Forestry Commission has awarded grant retrospectively for afforestation under the foresty grant scheme; and if he will list in the Official Report the names of the sites involved, their areas, and the reasons why retrospective grant was awarded.

Since the introduction of the forestry grant scheme in October 1981, the Forestry Commission has approved over 5,500 applications totalling some 157,000 hectares. Of these, approval to planting was given retrospectively on only 10 occasions. The names, location and areas of the sites involved are as follows:

Name and locationArea on which approval granted retrospectively (hectares)
Syke Farm, near Buttermere, Cumbria1·2
College Estate, Kirkoswald, Penrith, Cumbria0·9
Yonsea Farm, Ashford, Kent1·3
Exton Estate, near Oakham, Leicestershire3·2
Thurlow Estate, near Haverhill, Suffolk0·4
Annat Estate, Lochaber, Highland Region15·0
Otter Estate, Tighnabruaich, Strathclyde Region5·1
Strathfillan Estate, near Bridge of Orchy, Central Region95·0
Doune Estate, Doune by Stirling, Central Region0·4
High Kiers, Kyle and Carrick, Strathclyde Region96·0

In eight of the above-named cases, the commission felt morally bound to pay grant because the applicant had been advised or been given the impression, either orally or in writing, that approval had been given and had proceeded with the planting on that basis. In the remaining two cases, an administrative error resulted in payment being made for planting carried out before the scheme had been formally approved.

In all these cases, consultations had been carried out with other interested authorities, as appropriate, and agreement reached on the proposals before a decision was reached to give retrospective approval.