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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 05:57 GMT 06:57 UK
Holyrood hears timber trade fears
Timber - pic by Derek Campbell
The future of Scotland's timber trade could be in jeopardy
Scotland's forestry industry is under threat because of high fuel prices and the European working time directive, a timber trade group has warned.

The Confederation of Forest Industries has made a plea to the Scottish Parliament to cut tax on fuel and make the regulations more flexible.

It claimed it was cheaper for buyers in England to import wood from Scandinavia than driving it by lorry from Scotland.

Confor said the status quo threatened Scotland's 800m timber industry.

According to ConFor, a typical lorry-load of logs worth 500 would cost at least as much again to get it to market because fuel and wage costs had gone up 20% since the beginning of the year.

The group has suggested that time spent loading should not count towards road hours, and lorries carrying timber should be allowed to use low-tax red diesel.

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