Forestry Products (Outlets)

Oral Answers to Questions — Land and Natural Resources – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th March 1965.

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Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset 12:00 am, 8th March 1965

asked the Minister of Land and Natural Resources what steps he is taking towards improving the outlets for forest products in the South-West.

Photo of Mr Arthur Skeffington Mr Arthur Skeffington , Hayes and Harlington

The Forestry Commission, with the help of the Forest Products Research Laboratory, is continually seeking ways and means of improving the outlets for home grown wood in the South-West.

Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it is very necessary to have some outlets for inferior timber and thinnings, like chipboard mills, in the South-West, and that a certain amount of sympathy from Government Departments is required on this issue?

Photo of Mr Arthur Skeffington Mr Arthur Skeffington , Hayes and Harlington

I am aware of this. Unfortunately, this particular difficulty is not confined to the South-West. I assure the hon. Gentleman that my right hon. Friend will do what he can to help in this matter. We will most sympathetically consider any suggestions, either if the hon. Gentleman himself cares to submit proposals, or if they come from the trade.

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , North Cornwall

What is the hon. Gentleman doing about this? All we have been given to understand so far is that he and his right hon. Friend are consulting various bodies and interests. Will his Department take any positive action, apart from talking?

Photo of Mr Arthur Skeffington Mr Arthur Skeffington , Hayes and Harlington

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that it will not take us 13 years to make up our minds on this matter.

Photo of Mr Peter Mills Mr Peter Mills , Torrington

Will the Parliamentary Secretary bear in mind the very real need that exists for a chipboard factory in the South-West, particularly in the centre of the South-West—in Winkleigh, Devon, for example—that this is urgently required and that it is something which his Department could do, although it seems that nothing is being done at present?

Photo of Mr Arthur Skeffington Mr Arthur Skeffington , Hayes and Harlington

We are well aware of the position. Proposals are being considered now. On the other hand, if the Ministry were to rush in with large sums of public money and if it were subsequently shown not to have been economic to have done so, the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends would be among our first and sternest critics. The Department has had only a few weeks to consider these matters. They are not matters which can be solved in a few weeks. These things are bound to take a little time.