News & Events

'New London Plan Policy is great step forward for sustainable housebuilding', says Wood For Good

Wood For Good has expressed its satisfaction with the new London planning regulations, capable of "bringing back the need for zero-carbon residential development in the capital."

The Greater London Authority announced a new zero carbon homes policy earlier this year. It comes after the Government scrapped its zero-carbon 2016 targets at the end of last year.

Housing in the capital will now need to meet new standards for zero-carbon development or pay cash to a carbon offset fund.

The news comes as infrastructure consultancy firm Arcadis ranks the UK capital as the fifth most sustainable city in the world in its 2016 Sustainable Cities Index. The capital beat the UK’s other largest cities in the ranking — suggesting that the other regions need to be doing more to contribute to the country’s climate change reduction goals.

Christiane Lellig, Campaign Director at Wood for Good, said: “The new London Plan Policy is a great step forward for sustainable housebuilding in the capital following the scrapping of Zero Carbon Homes last year. London’s dense built environment creates challenges to delivering carbon-neutral homes but the industry needs to look beyond traditional building methods.

“There needs to be a paradigm shift in thinking towards greater use of off-site construction using timber. This would ensure that sustainability is incorporated right into developments through the material’s strong environmental credentials.”


[News URL:]

GIB WoodStock project shows UK hardwood production could jump by 20% in short term

Grown In Britain (GIB) has recently published its WoodStock project final report highlighting some great opportunities for UK hardwood sector.

Britain currently consumes over ½ million m3 of hardwood each year, much of which are species that grow in the UK, but less than 10% of this is obtained from UK sources. GIB research reveals that a 20% increase in UK production is quite possible in the short term, with a 100% plus increase possible over the medium term.

According to Grown In Britain report, a staggering 400,000 cubic metres could be available every single year for 40 years without reducing the overall stock still standing in the woods.

Further research revealed that many of the imported hardwood timber species have alternatives available in the UK forests. Moreover, in most cases, there is believed to be sufficient quality logs available in British woodlands to meet the UK demand.

In details, GIB report focuses on five key UK species:

  • Ash – UK Ash is the same species as that currently imported from the continent, and UK White Ash has a similar appearance and properties to American White Ash. UK Ash also has the added advantage of coming in a slightly darker Olive Ash. It can also be used for many internal joinery applications, and when thermally modified, can be used externally. Current imports of Ash amount to approximately 25,000m3 per annum, however there is potential for the UK to supply over 70,000m3 per annum.
  • Beech – UK Beech is the same species as that currently imported from the continent. Current imports of Beech amount to approximately 40,000m3 per annum, and this could potentially be met by a UK supply.
  • Oak – UK Oak is the same species as that currently imported from the continent, and has a similar appearance and properties to American White Oak. Current imports of Oak are approximately 268,000 m3 per annum. However there are currently insufficient quantities of quality Oak logs in UK woodlands to meet all internal demand.
  • Sweet Chestnut – UK imports very little Sweet Chestnut. Current UK supply is approximately 1,000m3 per annum, but this could be increased to as much as 49,000m3.
  • Sycamore – Again, UK imports very little sycamore, but many are unaware that this is a species of Maple. Britain currently imports approximately 5,000m3 of Maple from the US, and this could easily be met from UK supplies, with the potential for 39,000m3 per annum.

Grown In Britain report also shows that - although much has been lost over the last 50 years - there is still sufficient sawmilling capacity to cope with an increase in production. We spoke to 29 saw mills in the UK, of which 14 were still sawing logs. It was found that the current throughput could be increased from just under 26,000m3 per annum to over 53,000m3 per annum without any significant investment in machinery, a 100% increase. However, there would be a need to increase the skills base in this area to cope with this increase in demand.

As for kilning capacity, 14 of the 29 sawmills were still kiln drying timber, and again this was not at capacity for most. It was found that the current throughput could be increased from around 15,000m3 per annum to around 24,000m3 per annum without any investment in new kilns, a 60% increase. This capacity could be increased further quite quickly with investment in new kilns.

"We clearly have sufficient timber stocks and infrastructure capacity to supply greater quantities of hardwood timber, so why is this not happening?", wrote Grown In Britain researchers. "Talking to some of the major timber merchants, they do not want to deal with the many individual sawmills able to supply this timber; it is far easier for them to deal with one consolidation yard in the USA for example. Therefore there is a need for a single point of contact for the merchants where timber stocks from the saw mills around the UK can be purchased. The Grown in Britain WoodStock project is proposing just this, in the form of an online virtual Buying Platform that can pool the available stocks in saw mills around the country and offer this for purchase."

"To conclude, it is clear that there is a demand for the hardwood timber species we grow in the UK, and that much of this could be supplied from a home grown supply instead of being imported. We just need to work together to get this hardwood into the supply chain".

The complete report is available here.


[News URL:]

Construction buoyant despite Brexit fears and ONS stats, show BMF Statistics

There are few signs that Brexit has negatively impacted the construction industry according to the latest figures from the Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI). 

As shown by the BMF Statistics, timber and joinery products are among the best performing products, reporting a 11.8% sales increase. 

Overall like-for-like sales (allowing for two extra trading days) were up 2.8%. Year to date sales grew 5.4%.

ONS statistics, released today, suggest construction output decreased by 1.5% in August.  Whilst these are a different and broader measure of the construction sector, the contrast with BMBI figures, which relate to building materials, is startling.  

BMF Managing Director, John Newcomb, commented: "We are surprised by the ONS figures as they do not reflect what we see happening in the building materials industry.  We believe that the BMBI figures more accurately show the strength of the sector as they correlate to future output.  Put simply, for a brick to be laid, it first has to be supplied and purchased."

“There is lots of speculation on the impact of Brexit on the economy as a whole and on construction, so we are very encouraged to see sales growth of over 13% in August, which shows that our industry is still strong and in robust health”.

Below you can find a summary table of BMBI statistics for August 2016 and year to date.  


[News URL:]

FLEGT VPA has not stopped illegal logging in Congo, says environmental NGO Fern

Systemic illegalities persist in the Republic of Congo’s (RoC) forest sector, despite the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT VPA) signed with the EU to combat illegal timber trade, claims the environmental NGO Fern.

In fact, according to the RoC’s Independent Monitor of the implementation of forest law and governance, six new logging permits were awarded in January 2016 to several companies in violation of the country’s laws and regulations.

"Local civil society organisations, including Fern’s partner Forum pour le Gouvernance et les Droits Humains, believe that this is a serious breach of the VPA and a setback for the ongoing reforms intended to increase transparency and accountability in the management of the country’s vast forests", Fern spokespeople say.

Fern has joined these groups in calling on the Congolese government to work closely with the EU to implement the VPA and to end impunity in the forest sector.

The NGO has also asked the EU and Member States, in accordance with the EU Timber Regulation, to be diligent in ensuring that no illegally harvested timber and forest products from the RoC enter the EU market.


[News URL:]

Minister Nick Hurd to be keynote speaker at TAF Brexit Debate | 3 November 2016 | London

The Trade Association Forum (TAF) will hold a debate on Brexit aftermath at One Drummond Gate in London on Thursday 3rd November 2016.

The keynote speaker will be Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry within the newly formed Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Mr Hurd will discuss any concerns that industry has about the UK’s trading outlook and will explain what the Government is doing in the lead up to Article 50 being invoked.  

The event will also include discussion sessions delivered by experts and Award winning trade associations covering:

- TAF Governance Surgery for 2016 – Measuring Board Skills and Effectiveness

- How to create a successful in-house magazine

- Membership Recruitment – Tips for Success

- The Importance of Good PR

- Using Your Members for Promotion

- The Internet of Things

- Benchmarking your TA Against Others

- Communicating with the World – What your Website says about You

- Collaborative Working at its Best

- Lobbying Ethically and Influencing Policy in the Right Way

Debate tickets are available for £155 + VAT each or £310 + VAT for three people.

To reserve your place, please email [email protected] or call 020 3869 8650.

View other events on CTI Calendar.


[News URL:]