HC Deb 08 July 1994 vol 246 cc356-7W
Mr. Kynoch

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action the Government are taking to promote timber from sustainably managed forests.

Sir Hector Monro

In January 1994 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland launched the United Kingdom sustainable forestry programme, a comprehensive statement of the Government's policies for the sustainable management of the United Kingdom's forests and for helping other countries in the sustainable management of theirs.

The Government have every confidence in the standards that are applied to the production of timber from British forests. Through its approval of plans of operations, the Forestry Commission is able to ensure that timber is grown and harvested in accordance with guidelines that are founded on the principle of sustainable forestry; The Commission, with the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland, has published today a booklet describing the means we use to ensure that the felling and regeneration of woodland and the creation of new woodland is done with proper regard to the environment. The booklet will serve to assure buyers of products made from British timber that they can do so in the knowledge that our forests are managed responsibily. I have arranged for copies of the booklet to be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Internationally, the Government will participate fully in efforts to promote sustainable forest management as we indicated in the United Kingdom sustainable forestry programme. Later this month the Government are hosting jointly with India an international workshop to help prepare for the 1995 meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development at which forestry will be a key theme. The main objective of the workshop is to develop possible formats for national reporting to the CSD on forestry issues to allow progress to be assessed on the implementation of the forest principles adopted at the UN conference on environment and development—UNCED—and the forestry aspects of agenda 21 and other UNCED agreements.

The Government are also taking forward the action points that were agreed last year at the European Forestry Ministers conference in Helsinki at which I represented the United Kingdom. One of the main aims of the follow-up is to develop standards for sustainable forestry which might form the basis for promoting international agreement.

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