During the discussion on the Department of Health Estimates some days ago, I drew attention to the public health risk involved in any domestic fuel shortage. I have since ascertained that, in addition to blown timber and waste from privately owned mills, for which I have no figures, there are 50,000 tons of slabwood in stock at Government-operated mills in Scotland, with a monthly rate of accumulation of 7,000 tons. A circular issued by the Mines Department to local authorities last October explained the steps they could take to make arrangements for the collection and storage of timber with a view to its distribution for fuel in emergency. I am bringing this circular afresh to the urgent attention of Scottish authorities, especially those in rural areas.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his reply and his prompt action will be received with great satisfaction in Scotland, and will he do all he can to see that not only the large cities but the small towns and villages and isolated cottages get a good supply of wood during the coming winter?
The last part of my answer says that I am bringing the circular afresh to the urgent attention of Scottish authorities, especially those in rural areas.