HC Deb 12 July 1927 vol 208 cc1918-9

asked the President of the Board of Trade what proportion of the timber imported into this country comes from Empire sources; and whether the afforestation schemes of the Dominion Governments are such as to encourage an increase in that proportion?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Ormsby-Gore)

I have been asked to reply to this question. The percentage of timber imported into this country from Empire sources is (on the basis of value) 28.6 per cent. in the case of hard woods, and 5.7 per cent. in the case of soft woods; or 10.4 per cent. in all. With reference to the second part of the hon. Member's question, Government afforestation schemes provide for the planting of approximately 20,000 acres and 10,000 acres per annum in New Zealand and the Union of South Africa, respectively, while, in addition, considerable areas in these Dominions are being planted by private enterprise. The object of these afforestation schemes is to make these Dominions independent of timber imports, and it is clear that until this is accomplished they will not increase the proportion of Empire timber imported into this country.


Is the right hon. Member aware that the merchants in South Africa import many thousands of pounds worth of timber from the Baltic; and are schemes in operation to grow timber suitable for building purposes in South Africa?


Is not South Africa a self-governing Dominion that can look after its own timber?


South Africa, of course, is a self-governing Dominion, but this is a question of fact, and the answer to it is that South Africa has a Government planting scheme.

Colonel DAY

Is it the case that this country has imported considerably more timber from the Colonies this year than last year?


I should like to have notice of figures, but I think that is the case in regard to particular hard woods.


Is it not the fact that Government afforestation schemes in India have been remarkably successful?


It is not a question of planting; it is wholly a question of management, and the Indian Forest Service has a scientific record in that respect second to no other country in the world.

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