In the Highland Counties, the Forestry Commission are at present planting at the rate of 11,500 acres a year and they expect to increase this rate to 16,000 acres by 1956. The Commission's aim is to secure the re-afforestation of all felled woodlands in the Highlands as soon as possible: other land is made available for planting only after consultation with the Department of Agriculture for Scotland and full consideration of the agricultural issues involved.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that recently Sir Frank Mears directed attention to the fact that certain parts of the Highlands, in particular Sutherlandshire, were faced with the great danger of almost complete depopulation in the very near future? Is he aware that schemes like this are methods of preventing that, and will he prosecute them as quickly as possible?
Can my hon. Friend say who actually makes a decision as to what is or is not secondary land, because he will be aware, like the rest of us, that there is disquiet that good land is being taken for this purpose?
Would the Secretary of State keep in mind that many of the small islands are becoming completely depopulated and will go back to wilderness unless something is done, and that it is a social duty that the Forestry Commission should devote some attention to seeing that they are used for afforestation?