Timber has a critical role to play in the UK’s transition to a green economy. The UK’s forests are a valuable carbon store, and active management and processing can lock carbon into wood products.
There has never been a better time to celebrate UK timber — and more specifically the role it plays in improving and driving forward our economy.
But British Timber is undervalued. In fact, all timber is undervalued. And it is high time that we demonstrate the real worth of this renewable resource — for the benefit of our economy and our environment.
BSW Timber is a wholehearted supporter of the Grown in Britain Campaign. Many industry advocates and stakeholders are now on board and I’m greatly encouraged that initial outputs are translating into viable and tangible benefits for the UK timber industry.
Our industry provides 170,000 valuable livelihoods in the forest products industry, mostly in rural areas and across the whole of the UK, contributing £2 billion to the economy. We need to ensure this message is heard, shared and promoted from forest floor to end-user.
We have to commend UK producers who are taking the fight to importers by investing heavily in advanced technologies, quality products, innovation and service. What is clear is that home grown timber is competitive and is the solid platform to work from.
Latest figures show that the dominance of the importers is beginning to weaken with UK production gaining more and more market share. UK share of the sawn softwood market has grown from 13.5% in 1980 to 40% in 2012. What can be more sustainable than that?
Exchange rates have undoubtedly played their part. But, representing the sawmiller that produces almost one third of all UK sawn softwood output, it is our multi-million pound investment in our modern manufacturing sites and customer service centres that will make the difference in the future, setting new industry standards.
From what I can see around me, this commitment to development of the forest products sector in the UK is being replicated by the rest of the supply chain with around £1.6 billion being invested over the last 15 years.
In short, we have everything in place to meet the demands of future, when stronger recovery is evident. I look forward to working closely with key individuals, other industry partners and wider stakeholders to make “Grown in Britain” the success that our brilliant industry so rightly deserves.