The UK currently consumes more than 0.5M cubic metres of hardwood timber every year but less than 10% of this is grown in the UK. Yet sustainable home-grown timber production could be doubled by 2050, reducing timber imports by 50,000 cubic metres. This would underpin investment in innovation both in the utilisation of our woodlands and their management. These are the dramatic findings of the Grown in Britain WoodStock report published this month.
- An increase of 20% in hardwood timber production is achievable in the short-term, reaching 100% increase by 2050.
- For the next 40 years 400,000 cubic meters could be brought to market sustainably, without reducing the overall growing stock in our woodlands.
- If timber specifications are altered, to reduce the specification of oak in favour of other species, and with improvements to infrastructure, then there is significant scope to increase production eight fold over the long term.
- Timber imports could be reduced by approximately 50,000 cubic metres per year.
- A gap in the supply chain was identified, similar to consolidation yards run by timber exporters in other countries, supplying licensed timber direct to wholesalers. Grown in Britain WoodStock could fulfill a role in providing this licensed timber at a competitive price.
- An online timber buying platform could help organise stocks and help with marketing, possibly linking right back to woodland owners who have access to their own processing facilities.
- The research project consortium was led by Grown in Britain and included Sylva Foundation alongside BRE, English Woods Timber, Forestry Commission, Sustainable Construction Solutions, and Wilmott Dixon. Partial funding was provided by Innovate UK.