The Independent Panel on Forestry’s report - commissioned by the Defra - has specifically called on local authorities to use the powers given to them in their Local Plans to introduce a ‘Wood First’ planning policy.
The recommendation echoes calls from the timber industry’s sustainability awareness campaign Wood for Good to introduce a presumption in favour of using wood products in construction projects into local authority planning guidance.
Defra commissioned the report in the wake of a controversial announcement last year by the Government that it intended to sell-off large swathes of publicly owned forest, a position it has now altered following large scale public resistance.
Earlier this year Hackney Borough Council announced that it was intending to become the first municipal authority in the UK to bring in a ‘Wood First’ rule with a vote by its executive expected this autumn.
David Hopkins, executive director at Wood for Good, welcomed the Panel’s support saying that it was a critical building block in the campaign to see more sustainable construction in the UK.
He said: “As the report’s authors rightly identify, commercial forestry helps to preserve our woodland both for people to enjoy and to absorb millions of tonnes of carbon produced by the UK every year."
“Greater demand for timber products from the nation’s construction sector will see more forest planted and in turn, a greater amount of CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere."
“Just a four per cent increase in our forest cover would absorb 10 per cent of all of the UK’s carbon emissions in a single year which can then be stored in timber products. Local authorities can use their powers to encourage more sustainable development and help Britain to reach its carbon reduction commitments in the most cost effective manner.”
Issued on behalf of Wood for Good by Citypress
Ricky Ambury | 0161 235 0304 | firstname.lastname@example.org
About Wood for Good: www.woodforgood.com
The Wood for Good campaign works on behalf of the whole timber industry in the UK. It aims to promote the suitability and sustainability of wood as a building material to the construction and logistics sectors and associated professionals such as architects and design engineers.
Our funding comes from key commercial organisations, many of whom are members of our principal trade associations, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and the Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) and organisations such as the Swedish Forest Industry Association (Skogsindustrierna).