HC Deb 05 June 1980 vol 985 cc832-3W
Mr. Nicholas Winterton

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many acres of land in England and Wales the Forestry Commission owns at present; how much it owned on 3 May 1979; how much acreage it is expecting to purchase by 31 December 1980; what percentage of the acreage it owns at present is being used for the growing of trees; and what types of trees are being grown.

Mr. Wiggin

Statistics are maintained by financial years. The following is the available information for England and Wales.

At 31 March 1980 the Forestry Commission's land holdings totalled 463,600 hectares (1,145,500 acres); the corresponding figure at 31 March 1979 was 464,100 hectares (1,146,900 acres). Between 31 March 1980 and 31 December 1980 it is expected that the purchase of 570 hectares (1,400 acres) will be completed, although this is likely to be more than offset by the disposal of surplus assets.

Of the Commission's total holdings, 83 per cent, is being used for growing trees and 2 per cent, is awaiting planting. The plantations are mainly coniferous, the principal species in order of importance being Sitka spruce, Scots pine, Norway spruce and larch. Broad-leaved trees are grown where conditions are suitable; the main species are beech and oak.