§ Lord Hylton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How they define "a good return on their investment in public forests" (H.L. Deb, 14 March col. 1530); and whether they consider that the investment yield should be capable of significant variation from year to year, in accordance with market conditions and to protect the interests of private timber producers. [HL1555]
§ Baroness Hayman
We expect the forests managed by the Forestry Commission to provide a rate of return of 6 per cent overall. This is an economic measure which includes not only the operating surplus from commercial activities but also the many non-market benefits provided by the forests. These include public recreation, increasing biodiversity and other environmental benefits. The value of these non-market benefits is such that, to date, we have not needed to vary the target rate of return. On the other hand, the expected annual cash surplus is revised regularly to take account of changing circumstances.