asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, after consultation between the Forestry Commission and the Department of Agriculture for Scotland, as provided for by Section 3 of the Forestry Act, 1919, the Department has agreed to all lands acquired by the Forestry Commission in Scotland being withdrawn from agriculture for forestry purposes; and whether he will state how much of the land was acquired without full agreement?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. Section 3 of the Forestry Act, 1919, requires the Forestry Commission to consult the appropriate agricultural Department, but it does not require them to accept the views of that Department. I must refer the hon. and gallant Member to the Commission for information as to the number of cases in which the views of the Department of Agriculture for Scotland may not have been accepted.
Is the hon. Member not aware that there are a great many complaints all over Scotland, particularly in the North, that land which is meant for purely agricultural purposes is being taken by the Forestry Commission, while there are thousands of other acres fit for forestry which they could take.
As I have already said, no permanent pasture or arable land has been taken by the Forestry Commission, unless it has been a very small portion here or there for nursery purposes.