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Timber

Volume 888: debated on Thursday 13 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how much money the Government have spent in each of the past five years on the development of improved treatments for the preservation of timber;

(2) how much Government money will be spent in each of the next five years on the development of improved treatments for the preservation of timber.

The Princes Risborough Laboratory of the Building Research Establishment has a comprehensive programme on the preservation and protection of timber. Gross expenditure over the last three years, including extramural contracts, was:

1972–73£186,000
1973–74£230,000
1974–75£245,000
Strictly comparable figures for earlier years are not available. Proposed expenditure over the next five years is of the order of £200,000 per annum.Approximately one-third of the above expenditure relates directly to the development of improved treatments. The remainder is concerned with development of the ancillary technology of assessment of treatments, and with the development of specifications and advice to ensure the more effective use of existing preservation technology.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many research and development organisations working on improved treatments for the preservation of timber receive Government financial aid; and what is the amount of such aid to each individual organisation.

Apart from the Princes Risborough Laboratory, which is wholly Government-supported, the Department provides financial support to the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) by means of grant and contract work. Total support for TRADA in 1974 was £156,000, including specific contracts of £2,500 in the wood preservative area. Other organisations currently undertaking work on contract in the wood preservative area are: the Paint Research Association (£4,700); Imperial College of Science and Technology (£4,300); University of Aston, in Birmingham (£5,800); and Glasgow University (£3,500).

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, in view of the considerable imports of timber, if he will make a statement on the progress of his consideration of the need for greater preservation of this material and of the development of improved treatments.

I would refer by hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 2nd December—[Vol. 882, c. 383]. My Department's examination of the scope for the wider use of timber preservatives is still in progress. Treatments of improved effectiveness are under investigation by the Princes Risborough Laboratory (Building Research Establishment) in liaison with the wood preserving industry.