Industry News

UK Timber leader Peter Latham set to head PEFC International Board

Chairman of James Latham Plc, Peter Latham, was elected as Chairman of the PEFC International Board, at the PEFC General Assembly which was held last december in Bali, Indonesia.

As well as being Chairman of one of Britain’s oldest timber companies, he is a former Chairman of the Forests Forever Committee of the Timber Trade Federation and member of the Council of Commonwealth Forestry Association.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Latham said: “I would like to thank everyone at PEFC for the support I have received. I am very much looking forward to taking on this demanding new role with the support of the global PEFC family.

“While PEFC enjoys increasing successes as an organisation, achieving significant growth in certified forest area, the number of new members and acceptance in public procurement policies, the organisation still faces important challenges and I am confident that we will  face them together.”

Welcoming the appointment, Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International said, “I am very much looking forward to working alongside Peter in his new role of Chairman.
“Peter brings with him a wealth of valuable experience; not only has he been on the Board of PEFC International since 2011, he was also previously Chairman of PEFC UK and heads up one of Britain’s oldest and most respected timber trading companies, James Latham.  His knowledge and expertise will be invaluable to our organisation as it works to implement our vision of a world in which people manage forests sustainably.”

Peter Latham was awarded an OBE in the 2012 New Years Honours List in recognition of his service to the UK wood industry.


[News URL:]

MDF profile manufacturer W.Howard Limited acquires Balcas Kildare

The MDF profile manufacturer and distributor W.Howard Group has acquired Balcas Kildare, the Ireland-based supplier of MDF profiles. 

Balcas Kildare has been manufacturing decorative mouldings since 1988. With operations already in place at sites in Astley for W.Howard Limited (Manchester) and Newtown for Polyco Limited (Powys) as well as a dedicated collection and distribution depot based in West Thurrock, W.Howard Kildare Limited will expand the Group's reach across the UK, Ireland and Europe.

The W.Howard Group Managing Director, Graham Williams [in the picture on the left] said: "This deal will first and foremost bring confidence in the continuity of supply to our customers which will be achieved by manufacture at our three separate sites with supply of MDF and Chipboard from four major suppliers. 

"The workforce at Balcas Kildare are highly skilled and knowledgeable regarding the manufacture and supply of MDF profiles with the added bonus of being able to supply the KOTA product."

Mr Graham added: "We look forward to providing a commercial offer encompassing a radically expanded product range accompanied by reduced and simplified lead times."

Jonathan Grant, CEO of the W.Howard Group commented: "The synergy between the two successful businesses has created an offer to the market which will further help its valued customers".


[News URL:]

Edinburgh Napier University invests £3m in new timber research hub

Edinburgh Napier University will invest more than £3 million over the next decade in a new timber research hub, set to open in Edinburgh in spring 2017.

The facility - to be based at 7 Hills Business Park in Scottish capital's Sighthill - will focus on sustainable construction, timber engineering and wood science.

Thanks to the new hub, researchers will be able to work with industry to accelerate the development of a range of timber technologies, including highly energy efficient walls, whole roofs constructed off-site and new coating techniques aimed at extending the life of timber.

Professor Sean Smith, Director of Sustainable Construction at Edinburgh Napier, said the £1bn forestry sector employing more than 16,000 people, and its growing role in construction, was the “green gold” of the Scottish economy.

Mr Smith commented: “Seventy-five per cent of new housing in Scotland is timber based and that is expected to grow to more than eighty-five per cent in the coming years. 

“Timber construction across the rest of the UK is also forecast to increase significantly, and the new research facility will support the ambitions of Government, local authorities, housing associations and industry to develop new housing innovations.”

“The new R & D facility also strongly aligns with the City of Edinburgh and south east Scotland’s future growth plans for low energy housing delivering low carbon solutions. This will significantly support future housing designs and reduce domestic energy bills.”

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier added: “This new research facility demonstrates our commitment to the forestry and construction sectors and will build on our excellent industry linkages and international research partnerships.”

The works at the Sighthill site are being undertaken by Key Property Solutions and managed by Innes Associates. 7Hills Business Park, named after the seven hills that surround Edinburgh, is a joint venture between property development and asset management company Citivale and developer Peveril Securities.


[News URL:]

FSC opens consultation on voluntary Carbon Footprint Procedure

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has invited all its stakeholders to join a consultation - running from 29 November 2016 to 10 January 2017 - on the possible introduction of a voluntary FSC Carbon Footprint Procedure.

This procedure would assist FSC certificate holders in quantifying the greenhouse gas emissions and climate benefits related to FSC-certified materials and products. The tool would be for voluntary use by certificate holders and only be mandatory when a certificate holder is making a claim about the carbon footprint of an FSC-labelled product.

Through the consultation, FSC aims to get an indication of the support for and interest in such an instrument, and any possible concerns among FSC members and stakeholders. 

"Carbon footprinting is likely to become an important tool to reduce the climate impacts of production and consumption patterns worldwide", explains FSC in a note. "It is already required for biomass energy as part of national renewable energy promotion policies. It can also be relevant for other products, for example for decision-making on what construction materials to use, or what materials to use for producing furniture, packaging, etc." 

"However, it is not a case of ‘all wood is good’ – it is important to distinguish wood originating from deforestation or badly managed forests from that originating from sustainably managed forests such as those certified by FSC. The FSC method would be unique in properly including the forest impacts of harvesting as part of a carbon footprint of a product, resulting in more accurate information to support sound policies and decisions."

The procedure will be linked to the FSC Chain of Custody Standard and will build upon the framework currently being developed on the impact of forest stewardship on ecosystem services. 

All information – including links to the survey, the consultation draft, and the comments form – can be found here.


[News URL:]