To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has on the estimated cost to each of the regional authorities of Dumfries and Galloway, Highland and Border, of upgrading rural roads, bridges and other infrastructure to facilitate the extraction of plantation timber from remote hill and upland areas; and if he intends to lay business rates on such plantations in order to contribute towards the cost of such infrastructure.
The only information available is estimates prepared by the local authorities. Dumfries and Galloway regional council has prepared a programme totalling £13·3 million of road schemes to assist in the extraction of timber up to 1995. Highland regional council has included in its financial plan a total of £3·7 million for this purpose for the period up to 1992–93. Borders regional council is at present in discussion with the Forestry Commission in order to update its programme of schemes.It is not intended to change the existing arrangements for the application of agricultural derating to woodlands.