The Forestry Commission has undertaken a number of special amenity planting projects throughout the country, many of them in co-operation with local authorities. The commission has also donated substantial numbers of plants to schools, and wherever possible it has complied with requests to buy plants from its surplus stocks.
I am grateful for that reply. As the "Plant a Tree in 1973" campaign has been a very great success, will my hon. Friend realise that it must now be a continuing process and that we must plant some more in '74? Will he give an assurance that the Forestry Commission will make even more supplies available for the public to plant?
I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for the inspiration that he has given to the tree planting campaign. I can tell him that 90,000 trees have been donated to schools and about 70,000 trees for projects carried out in conjunction with local authorities. I shall certainly draw the attention of the Forestry Commission to what my hon. Friend has said, and I shall do anything I can to support his wishes.
Is the Minister aware that the Department of the Environment sent to every hon. Member, in a large envelope, a circular about planting a tree, and that this constitutes a great waste of public money? The Minister ought to encourage his fellow Ministers to see that public money is saved as well as trees.
Would not the best contribution that my hon. Friend could make to the English countryside be to keep alive in '75 and beyond our English elm trees? Will he think again about the capitulation which he has recently announced?
It was not a recent announcement; it was something which had to be faced, because there is no known treatment for Dutch elm disease other than the individual injection of trees, and even that is by no means really established as a cure. It is not a method which is practicable for all the trees in the country.