Public Bodies Bill [HL] — Committee (7th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 28th February 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Henley Lord Henley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 4:15 pm, 28th February 2011

No decisions have been made about any of that whatever, but I remind the noble Lord that, although it might have been said that land was sold off purely to buy back other land, some of the proceeds were used to top up the running costs of the Forestry Commission. I am not sure that that is the right way to go about these things.

I want to get back to the 15 per cent, which was the last point made by the noble Lord. The Forestry Act requires that there should be a substantial forestry estate. The noble Lord will be familiar with the 1967 Act and all the previous Acts. That estate should be placed at the disposal of the Forestry Commission to manage. I will not go into all the legal advice that we have received from lawyers, as is the convention that the noble Lord will be fully aware of, but we do not consider that the sale of 15 per cent would undermine that statutory regime. That is where we are on that matter. I hope that I have explained where we are. I am grateful-