To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the Government's latest assessment of the effect of acid rain on Britain's trees.
[pursuant to his reply, 7 December 1987, c. 16]: My Department is considering closely the results of the Forestry Commission's 1987 survey of United Kingdom tree health. The survey alone does not provide direct evidence for a role for acid deposition in tree health. However, the reported reduction in crown density of coniferous species and the condition of deciduous species underlines the continued need for studies aimed at identifying possible damage mechanisms as well as continuing the surveys to improve understanding of the trends in tree health. The Forestry Commission will be carrying out further analyses early next year. My Department is consulting scientists, including those engaged in the Department's research programme, and my noble Friend the Minister for Environment, Countryside and Water will be chairing a meeting to discuss the 1987 survey with a number of interested organisations in January.