HC Deb 24 July 1941 vol 373 cc1050-1
35. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Home Secretary whether he will issue instructions to local authorities not to make bonfires of wood from demolished houses, but to make such wood available as fuel to local residents?

Mr. H. Morrison

Instructions were issued to local authorities in December last, and again in March of this year, to make arrangements for the local distribution of valueless timber as firewood, and to make public announcement of such arrangements. As a general rule, only verminous timber should be burned on the site. In some are as householders have been slow to avail themselves of the facilities afforded, particularly during the summer months. Accordingly, I am considering what further arrangements can be made for the collection and disposal of valueless timber for use as fuel.

Sir W. Smithers

If the Minister will travel up and down the urban areas, he will see nearly every day large bonfires of quite useful fuel being burned. In view of the fuel shortage, will the right hon. Gentleman take immediate and drastic steps to make such fuel available to poor people?

Mr. Morrison

I have done so, and many poor people are using it, particularly during the summer months. Many of the bonfires are probably made with verminous and worthless timber which it is desirable to destroy.

Sir Joseph Lamb

Cannot the timber be stored?

Mr. Morrison

I am in communication with the Mines Department on the matter, with a view to storing the wood as a supplementary source of fuel during the winter.

Mr. Wootton-Davies

Is the Minister aware that in Germany wood is being used for the manufacture of food and that this wood ought not to be burned?