Lords Amendment: In Sub-section (5), leave out the word "and" ["and is suitable for afforestation"], and insert instead there of the words
The Bird shall, subject as hereinafter provided, offer the land to time person from whom it was purchased, or his Successor in title, at a price to he determined, failing agreement, by the Scottish Land Court, provided that if in the opinion of the Board the land
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
This Amendment, I venture to suggest should also be agreed to subject to the consequential Amendment to which I shall indicate in a moment. The original form in which the Amendment came before the Committee was that the right of preemption should be given to the owner of the land. We arc here dealing with land which is not required for the purposes for which it is bought by the Board of Agriculture. There may be certain portions of an estate purchased which the Board find arc not needed for their purposes. The proposal made in Committee was that the landlord should have the right of preemption in these cases. I pointed out that was inconsistent with another provision in the Bill which gave the right to the Fores- Try Commissioners of pre-emption in regard to this land. This Amendment has, by agreement so far as the Government is concerned in another place, been re-modelled and the effect of it will be, if the House agrees, that when you have some land which the Board of Agriculture does not require, it must first of all be offered to the Forestry Commissioners in case they should desire it for the purpose of their work. Failing the forestry Commissioners not wishing tins unneeded land, it will be offered to the landlord in case he should like to have it. The provision is that that shall be the operation before the Board goes into the open market to sell this land. This is quite a reasonable proposal. We thought so in another place. I suggest, therefore, that this Amendment should be accepted subject to the purely drafting consequential Amendment which I propose to move. The net result of this Amendment, if accepted, will be that the Board gets rid of land which it does not require, first offering it to the Forestry Commissioners, then to the landlord, and then in the open market
I am afraid there has been some difficulty in regard to getting an appropriate copy of the Bill. But perhaps I may read this Clause as it will run if the Amendment I propose be also inserted. It will read as follows:
Before selling any land which in the opinion of the Board is not required for the purposes of this Act the Board shall, subject as hereinafter provided, offer the land to the person from whom it was purchased, or his successor in title, at a price to be determined, failing agreement, by the Scottish Land Court provided that in the opinion of the Board the land is suitable for afforestation the Board shall in the first instance consult the Forestry Commission, and shall give the Forestry Commissioners an opportunity of acquiring such land.