In recent decades there has been a significant expansion of wood processing capacity in the UK, encompassing the production of sawn timber, wood based panel products and paper products. At the same time, there has been the development of the recovered wood supply chain, with the wood panel sector being a major consumer, alongside other markets for wood fibre of this type. In addition, a biomass energy market has emerged in the UK. Significant volumes of British grown timber and recovered wood are now being used for heat and/or power generation purposes.

Production forecasts show that coniferous roundwood production in Britain is expected to increase to a peak around 2020, before declining. As such, it is vital that the Government expands efforts to increase the UK’s supply of commercial coniferous forestry.

Increased woodland planting was one of the recommendations made by the Independent Panel on Forestry, which was supported by the Government in its response to the panel’s report in 2013. The wood panel industry welcomed this, as well as the Government’s other proposals on tackling tree health issues, encouraging the use of timber in construction, and the on-going work with ‘Grown in Britain’ and the ‘Wood Industry Action Plan’ (WIAP).

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