Mr. John M. Taylor
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures he is taking to deal with tree damage resulting from the October hurricane.
§ Mr. MacGregor
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on 30 November, at column 441, to my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Speed) which deals with the action we are taking in relation to shelter belts and orchard trees.
In addition, grants are available under the Forestry Commission's forestry grant scheme and broadleaved woodland grant scheme for the replacement of blown trees. Woodland owners can obtain information and advice on these schemes from the Commission's local offices.
The Forestry Commission has set up a forest windblown action committee which, within a few days of the storm, established a task force based at the Commission's research station near Farnham in Surrey. This task force has already provided help and advice to woodland owners and the public generally in response to hundreds of enquiries. Following completion of an assessment of the damage to woodlands in the affected areas, the action committee is now preparing guidance on the orderly marketing of blown trees, and woodland owners will be kept fully informed.