Government backing British

21 March 2018

With increasing support in the highest places, Grown in Britain’s momentum can only grow, says chief executive Dougal Driver

In recent months the government has stepped up to the home-grown plate.

In its Clean Growth Strategy, published in Grown in Britain Week 2017 last October, it stated its wish to see more home-grown timber in construction. This public sector commitment has been further nailed home this year with the 25-Year Environment Plan repeatedly highlighting the importance of Grown in Britain (GiB).

Now, under secretary of state for the environment Dr Thérèse Coffey has personally emphasised the need to boost home-grown timber further.

Speaking at the recent Confederation of Timber Industries parliamentary reception, the Defra minister said government would work with timber and construction sectors to increase home-grown demand in new build, refurbishment and infrastructure projects. She also reaffirmed government commitment to increase UK forest cover to 12% by 2060. “As a nation, we need to plant more trees,” she said.

This is all good news for GiB. In its four years it has established that some major construction contractors would prefer to use British-grown timber. Demand has also swept through the furniture, house building and fuel supply chains and GiB is now a sought after brand. End-users buying GiB branded items, are assured the wood is legal and from well-managed UK woods and forests. The scheme covers all parts of the supply chain, and includes companies solely using UK wood to those offering imports too. Its 80 licence holders include owners of just a few hectares of woodlands, right up to some of Britain’s biggest wood products manufacturers.

As perhaps with several sectors, the UK has a habit of importing added value goods and this is the case in both softwood and hardwood. This is why GiB goes beyond being an assurance brand and engages in R&D to see what products and components we can make here. From glue and cross-lamination and fi nger-jointing of softwood, to thermal modifi cation of hardwood, we are driving change and boosting local economies.

Grown in Britain started under a cry of “bring woodlands back into active management” and, whilst there has been a welcome shift both in the statistics and attitudes in this area, there’s still potential to bring several million more tonnes of wood into the supply chain. But, with increasing demand for assured, demonstrably British wood, the trend to increase active management is set to continue.

The most rewarding aspect of a maturing GiB, is that we’re now being approached by major players outside the sector, such as national home-style stores and popular restaurant chains. They see the GiB brand as a way to engage with customers though the woody materials they use and this is pulling and adding value to the market for everyone down the supply chain.

So if you’re part of the GiB assured supply chain thank you for helping to get us here. If you are not and can see the commercial advantages, get in touch. The market momentum and, increasingly, government are with us.