From left to right: Cllr Cath Homer (Councillor for Hexham East); Guy Opperman MP (Member of Parliament for Hexham); Cllr Peter Jackson (Leader of Northumberland Council); Jonathon Stephens (Egger Plant Manager – Finance / Administration); Elfi Bretterklieber-Taye (Director, Campact Ltd); John Paterson (Director, Egger Forestry); Claire Perry MP (Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth)

EGGER (UK) Limited welcomed the UK Government’s Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Rt Hon Claire Perry MP to their wood-based materials manufacturing site at Hexham in Northumberland on Friday 8th March 2019.

Rt Hon Claire Perry MP’s visit to Northumberland’s largest manufacturing company EGGER comes on the back of concerns raised by the industry through the Wood Panel Industries Federation (WPIF) about the increasing demand for the UK annual wood basket.

Wood-based panel manufacturers are looking to ensure that wood security is at the forefront of future UK business and energy policy. The wood panel manufacturing sector uses 25% of the 11 million tonnes of wood delivered from UK forestry every year. UK manufacturers supply approximately 65% of the total UK annual consumption of wood-based panel products, which can be found in virtually every office, home and workplace across the country and is relied upon by the furniture, house building and construction industries across the UK.

The Minister for Energy and Clean Growth was joined by Hexham’s local representative Guy Opperman MP, Northumberland County Council Leader Cllr Peter Jackson and Councillor for Hexham East, Cllr Cath Homer.

The Rt Hon Claire Perry MP, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, commented “It was a pleasure to be in Hexham with Guy Opperman MP and visit the Egger plant to meet representatives of the Wood Panel Industry and discuss the importance of forestry to the UK Economy. It’s great to see manufacturing firms continuing to invest domestically and bringing highly skilled, quality jobs to the area.”

Hexham’s Member of Parliament, Guy Opperman said: “I was delighted to welcome Energy Minister Claire Perry to EGGER in Hexham to show off one of our top local employers. It was a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the importance of forestry to Northumberland, and I really hope she takes the message loud and clear about the need to maintain forestry and keep timber costs down on an ongoing basis.”

WPIF Director General Alastair Kerr commented, “We really appreciate the time and engagement the Minister gave to this visit. Being able to showcase first-hand the nature of the industry, its products and processes is extremely valuable as it creates a more informed context to future discussions that we hope to have with the Minister and her Department”.

Welcoming the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, John Paterson, Director, EGGER Forestry commented, “It was a pleasure to host this meeting with the Minister, where we were able to discuss the impact of energy policy on our wood supply. Our industry is at the forefront of sustainable UK manufacturing. I was pleased to show the Minister what we are able to manufacture at Hexham to meet the demands of the furniture, interior design and construction sectors. Wood security is vital to underpin our manufacturing capability and future capital investment.”


David Rutley


From left to right: Stephen Kerr MP (Chair of the APPG and Expert Working Group); Steve Roebuck (Director, Norbord); David Rutley MP (Minister, DEFRA); John Paterson (Director, Egger Forestry); Chris Emery (Timber Procurement Executive, Kronospan); Rt Hon Brian Wilson.

Members of the Expert Working Group and the APPG for the Wood Panel Industry met with David Rutley MP on 13th March 2019 to discuss supply and demand issues facing the industry, resulting from a lack of security surrounding domestic wood. The impact of existing UK energy policy on the wood panel industry and policy options available to combat the unintended consequences of biomass subsidy were highlighted as follows:

  1. Achieve a commitment to align policy across the UK with a focus upon improving long-term wood security through increased planting.

This was led by members companies of the Wood Panel industries Federation – John Paterson (Director, Egger Forestry), Steve Roebuck (Director, Norbord) and Chris Emery (Timber Procurement Executive, Kronospan).

The following policy options were led by Alastair Kerr (Director of the Wood Panel industries Federation) and the Rt Hon Brian Wilson:

  1. Remove the subsidies which cover woody biomass and create a competitive, free market for all wood users competing for a finite resource base
  2. Restrict the total quantity of wood supply that can be consumed as wood fuel by recipients of subsidy payments on an annual basis and/or restrict the type of wood that biomass plants in receipt of subsidies can use as fuel
  3. Adopt a technology neutral approach ensuring that renewables subsidies are equalised and biomass does not receive a higher rate than is justifiable based upon the available evidence.