HC Deb 02 December 1975 vol 901 cc532-3W
Mr. George

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what research has been undertaken by the Fire Research Station into the potential hazards in the home in the use of plastics in furniture.

Mr. Freeson

The Station is engaged on a continuous programme of studies into the behaviour in fire of plastics in furniture and fittings. The work includes laboratory examination of the heating and burning of a wide range of plastic materials, particularly PVC, flexible and rigid polyurethanes and phenol formaldehyde. The burning properties of these materials are compared with those of traditional materials such as wood of foam rubber.

Full-scale fire tests under conditions representing those of a burning room are carried out on polyurethane cushions, mattresses and made-up beds, on decorative PVC wall linings and papers and on decorative pheno formaldehyde laminates. The Fire Research Station is also managing external research contracts on smoke production from selected polymers, on chemical products from thermal decomposition of polyurethanes and on final combustion products from polyurethanes. All this work is given high priority in the interests of fire protection and public safety. The results are made available regularly and promptly in official reports and scientific journals.

1972–73 1973–74 1974–75
£ £ £
The Gardens, Sissinghurst Castle, Kent 2,199
Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire 9,546 4,565
Farnborough Hall, Warwickshire 1,500
Saltram House, Plymouth, Devon 6,575 30,460
Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire 66,704
Sudbury Hall, Ashbourne Wiltshire 12,463
19,820 114,192

The total amounts of repair grants made to the National Trust for properties in England and Wales are as follows:

1972–73, £228,864; 1973–74, £237,904; 1974–75, £178,111.

Grants made to the National Trust for Scotland are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.