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Tyne Valleys, Northumberland (Depopulation)

Volume 530: debated on Monday 12 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, with a view to discouraging the depopulation of the north and south Tyne valleys of Northumberland, he will arrange with the Forestry Commission for the establishment of a pulping factory in that area to process the increasing amount of thinnings now forthcoming there.

I regret that this proposal for a pulping factory is not a practicable proposition. A small pulp mill of economic size would require at least 50 thousand tons of timber suitable for pulpwood a year to keep in operation, and supplies of this magnitude are not available in the area. A private company has, however, been considering the possibility of establishing a factory to produce fibre board, which requires less material. This project has been encouraged by the Commissioners, who have offered to make supplies available. The Commissioners are fully aware of the need for additional outlets for the increasing supplies of thinnings from the plantations, and will continue to do all they can to encourage ancillary industries as a means both of providing an outlet for the raw material and of increasing the possibilities of employment.