Demand for Grown in Britain timber increases

by | Oct 18, 2014 | Featured Slider, News

As the second annual Grown in Britain Week kicks off, sales of British wood products are up 7%1, marking a real step change in wood culture across the UK and significant progress since the Grown in Britain initiative launched in 2013.

The amount of UK woodland in management has risen to 60%2 this year, with 250,000 hectares of forest soon to be licensed as Grown in Britain and millions of tonnes of Grown in Britain timber working through the wood chain and into the marketplace.

The initiative continues to attract high profile support from brands such as the Kingfisher Group, Crown Estate, B&Q, Travis Perkins and STIHL, as well as securing the backing of sector bodies such as the UK Contractors Group, representing £26 billion of construction spend. This year alone:

  • A Grown in Britain Forest Carbon Scheme has been launched which – certified under the Woodland Carbon Code – has planted its first 100,000 trees;
  • Three new research projects have been launched, exploring how to add value through thermal, chemical and preservative treatments; and
  • A new curriculum pack for schools has been published to educate the next generation on the importance of forests and wood in our daily lives – available

Sir Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher and Chairman of the British Retail Consortium comments:

“An answer to British timber sustainability lies with Grown in Britain, and the work it’s doing to promote home grown wood in order to create supply and demand for the materials we come into contact with every day. This benefits the consumer, the landowner, our woodlands and the economy.“We’re a supporter of the project and it ties in with our aim to develop a sustainable home improvement sector that can be both profitable and better for the world in which we live.”

Small, medium and many major organisations have signed up to support Grown in Britain and its licensing scheme since it launched in July. Designed to allow the timber supply chain and the public to identify and purchase products produced from British timber, the scheme is the first of its kind for the UK wood market, putting it on a par with more established initiatives promoting home-grown produce in the food sector, such as Red Tractor.

Dougal Driver, CEO of Grown in Britain, explains:

“80%3 of the timber we use in the UK comes from abroad but the message from the construction and retail sectors is clear: their preference is timber Grown in Britain.“Recent research with the construction sector, for example, has shown that over 60% of those surveyed would be prepared to include a clause requesting the use of Grown in Britain timber in their contracts.“Our focus this year has been on creating and launching a license scheme that highlights and promotes British timber products, and gives a guarantee of their source and origin.“When a customer buys a Grown in Britain licensed and labelled product they have assurance that it’s home-grown here in the UK. It’s a proud mark that enables customers to buy authentic British wood products, safe in the knowledge that the forests and woods are protected and managed to the Government’s UK forestry standards.”

Currently employing 40,000 people5 across the UK and contributing £6.5billion to GDP6, the UK’s forestry, wood processing and manufacturing sectors are a critical home-grown resource – but there’s more that could be achieved. Against a European average of 37%, there is only 13% woodland cover in the UK7.

Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Forestry Commission, said:

“It’s great to see forestry and the businesses that use timber thriving. Grown in Britain is doing a wonderful job making people aware of the importance of British forestry to our economy and society. People are connecting their love of trees with their love of wood and this helps build new markets.“This is true for all woods that supply our timber – both the softwoods we use for building and our higher value hardwoods. Here in particular there’s a very special opportunity for the broadleaved woodlands that supply our hardwoods because by bringing these often neglected woodlands back into production we can improve habitats at the same time as providing new employment.“We also need to create new woodlands to provide our timber and fuel in decades to come. This should become easier if we can show real returns on our current woodlands, and building new and profitable markets is the way to achieve this. The exciting role for Grown in Britain is to turn this vision into reality.”

The Grown in Britain initiative is about bringing together people and businesses from across the forestry, construction and retail sectors to both generate demand, and support woodland creation and management. Grown in Britain Week 2014 (13th – 19th October 2014) will be marked by a series of national events, celebrating progress to date.

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