CONSTRUCTION Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) had a timber house on show during COP26. The house was there to show how timber can be almost as versatile as brick, steel and concrete, with it also being five times lighter and of comparable strength in concrete's case. The building highlighted the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT), predominantly with kiln-dried spruce, although larch, fir and pine are also suitable.

CLT also has enough strength to replace steel in many cases, excepting brackets and bolts, to allow constructions up to 12 storeys in height, with trials being done upwards to 30 storeys.

As things currently stand, new build housing construction in Scotland is approaching 75% as timber-framed, and with other advances like structural insulated panels (SIP), a sandwich of oriented strand board (OSB) and foam insulation, which are up to 35% lighter than current timber frame panels, much more of the tree is being fully utilised.

More and more of the houses now can be prefabricated in factory environments, greatly improving working conditions on and off site, and speeding up construction considerably. I do not propose, nor condone, filling every hill and glen in Scotland with swathes of CO2-capturing coniferous trees, but with thought and consideration for livestock, shelter belts of trees could be planted on otherwise unprofitable sheep-rearing ground, and, where conditions are suitable, large areas could be planted with native deciduous trees, or a mix of both.

I don't think that everyone realises that timber on the tree, or in cut form, still retains captured CO2 until the wood finally degrades and rots away. Next time you go for your weekly shop in some of our larger and newer superstores, check the supporting structure, and you may be surprised to see that they are made from CLT, lots of timber but little steel. The only problem with timber as a highly adaptable renewable source for building and fuel, is that from planting to harvesting takes from 25 to 50 years, dependent on species of the tree. However, in Wales, some Sitka spruce have reached maturity in 15 years. So we had better get our fingers out and start planting now.

George Dale, Beith.


RICHARD Gordon (Letters, November 19) suggests the public should boycott Chinese goods.

I am sitting in a chair at a table composing this email on my laptop. All are well-known brands. All are manufactured in China. The same applies to my kettle, toaster, mobile phone, vacuum cleaner, TV satellite box and almost any electrical item purchased in recent years. They are all of good quality. Only by inspecting the packaging do you discover, in small print, that they are manufactured in China.

Go into any home discount store and it would be almost impossible to find any item not from China.

Instead of using my car I can now go into town in a Chinese-built electric bus wearing my Chinese mask.

The West has basically exported its CO2 production to China and is now heavily dependent on it for manufactured goods.

On the other hand China is also heavily dependent on the West for its export market, so why would it risk any form of armed conflict?

Alexander Johnston, Renfrew.


I TAKE issue with Ruth Marr (Letters, November 18) on her comments about two-car families and bus travel.

Public transport is fine – I use it everyday to and from work – if your journey is A to B. The problem is the average person does not always have that luxury. For example, my son works in a gym in Anniesland: 20 minutes in the car, 70 minutes by public transport. For her work today my wife is in Robroyston, Cumbernauld, Kirkintilloch, Milngavie and Bearsden; try that on public transport. Supermarkets are often not ideally placed on bus routes and not the best vehicles for weekly shops. Then there are issues like those affecting my daughter, who lives in a village in Devon, not exactly a convenient journey on public transport, especially as there is none locally.

Yes, in a perfect world it would be nice if you could just jump on a bus or train near you and arrive quickly at a local destination, but nowadays people's commitments often do not allow that, so sometimes two cars are a necessity.

Douglas Jardine, Bishopbriggs.


I RECENTLY took a trip to Greenock to see the last cruise ship to visit there in 2021. This ship is absolutely huge and has a passenger complement of around 3,500 persons. Further investigations revealed that she had been constructed in just two years (2017-2019).

Standing on the quayside and looking eastwards I was puzzled, ashamed and angry that in the dock at Port Glasgow are two “mini” vessels that have been slumbering there for in excess of four years.

John M Caldwell, Bothwell.


I’M as happy as the next Scottish football fan at the national team’s success but my first thought if I'd read Teddy Jamieson’s headline “What if Scotland get to the World Cup finals?” (The Herald, November 19) a year ago, before processing the politics involved, would have been "cancel COP26", as a win in the final might signal the end of global warming. Hell would have frozen over.

Now, who knows?

R Russell Smith, Largs.