TEXT OF INTERVIEW
SCOTT JAGOW: British people love building garden fences. But there’s a major shortage of wood in Britain right now and people are getting pretty upset about it. They’re blaming China. Let’s bring in our man in London, Stephen Beard. First of all, Stephen, how bad is this shortage?
STEPHEN BEARD: Pretty bad. We’re hearing of six-month waiting lists for your ordinary garden fence. It’s got so bad that apparently there have been fist fights at garden centers as customers have vied over dwindling supplies of timber for their garden fencing.
JAGOW: Geez. What does China have to do with this?
BEARD: Well China, according to the U.N., is now the No. 1 importer of soft and hardwood logs. China’s appetite for many commodities, not only wood, is pretty staggering. But in the words of the head of the Scottish timber federation, China is consuming “mind-boggling” amounts of timber at the moment.
JAGOW: Anybody got a solution to this problem?
BEARD: No not really other than using sort of artificial products.
JAGOW: Well I know Stephen you live out in the countryside and you’ve talked about building a garden fence recently. I hope you’re not gonna get into any fights down at the building store.
BEARD: No, we’re just going to, um, not build a fence. I mean we’ve had a succession of workmen coming out here to give us estimates and their estimates for the costs have absolutely soared in recent weeks. Some are now claiming that a wooden fence is going to cost 50 percent more than it did a year ago.
BEARD: So I reckon we’ll just have to do without that fence.
JAGOW: Alright Stephen, thanks a lot.
BEARD: We’ll sit on the fence.
JAGOW: Our European correspondent Stephen Beard in London.
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