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Forestry

Volume 655: debated on Monday 12 March 1962

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) in view of the fact that the volume of timber produced by thinnings and clear fellings in Forestry Commission forests during 1960 increased by 2·9 million hoppus feet, and is increasing annually at an even faster rate, and that the prospective use of timber in this country for pit props is steadily diminishing, what steps he is taking to ensure adequate arrangements by which the increasing production of thinnings will be effectively absorbed by the enlargement of the chip-board and other timber-using industries;(2) what is the total amount of grants in aid which have been voted by Parliament to the Forestry Commission since its establishment; and what steps he will take in the near future to ensure that this investment of money will be adequately repaid, particularly so far as concerns the control of the importation of timber and timber products.

The total amount of grants in aid voted to the Commission since its establishment is £130,700,000.As my hon. and gallant Friend was assured in reply to his Questions on 27th April and 1st June, 1961, the Forestry Commission is constantly exploring possible new markets and encouraging the growth of new timber-using industries, particularly those concerned with chipboard and similar timber products, which use thinnings. I am satisfied that the situation does not call for measures to control imports of timber, on which this country must always be largely dependent.