Sporting rights acquired by the Board, or injuriously affected by the Board's operations, rank for compensation under the normal statutory code incorporated in the Land Clauses (Scotland) Act and related legislation. The Board has informed my right hon.. Friend that detailed examination of several thousand individual cases would be needed to ascertain the total sum exactly; but it estimates that of the £1·4 million paid for land and compensation in respect of its generating schemes, about one-half may be in respect of sporting rights.
Is not the figure extremely high? Is the Minister aware that many Highland landowners are far more interested in maintaining the north of Scotland as a huge sporting estate than in having hydro-electric development, or any kind of economic development in the Highlands? When are the Government going to get tough with these landowners and stop allowing them to dictate Government policy towards hydro-electric development?
I do not think this a high figure for a period of about 20years. I know that it is less than 1 per cent. of the Board's capital expenditure on generation. Most of the land concerned is not of high value.
I confirm that fishing in particular is a very valuable tourist amenity and that the rates from fishing also contribute to the assets of the local authorities.