Agglomeration is a powerful force, as anyone will know who watched the fascinating recent BBC documentary, Mind the Gap – London and the Rest.

Fronted by Evan Davis, the programme probed into why London stands head and shoulders above all other UK cities in size, growth rate and sheer economic diversity and strength, and now accounts for 25% of UK GDP.

Part of the capital’s power historically is based on location; the fact that it’s our closest major city to Europe and on the Thames, a ready-made port and thoroughfare. The key today, however, said Davis, is agglomeration. This is the momentum and drive generated by such a volume and variety of skills, knowledge, resources, companies and organisations coming together in a unit. Businesses and people fire off one another, inspiring new ideas and building on each other’s strengths and energies. Essentially this creates an entity greater than the sum of its parts, with a dynamism all its own.

Which brings us to the UK timber industry’s latest and arguably most ambitious move to date to achieve its own form of agglomeration; the launch of a new federation of federations to represent and lobby on behalf of the sector as a whole, provisionally called the Confederation of Timber Industries, or CTI.

It’s long been recognised that a weakness of this sector is its fragmentation. Of course, it comprises a wide mix of different elements, with their own unique interests and concerns. But there are major issues and causes that are common to all parts of the industry which, it is widely felt, are not sufficiently or strongly enough represented and promoted because it has lacked a united voice. The result, said Timber Trade Federation chief executive and strong backer of the CTI, John White, is that timber has suffered "reputational deficit". Compared to sectors such as steel and concrete, which have long been singing from the same songsheet through central organisations, it has not had the ear of decision makers in the market place or government.

The main trade bodies started to come together in 2012 in the Timber Industry Accord, which set out to identify areas for synergy and co-operation. It is from this that the CTI has emerged, with several members backing formalising their alliance into a legal entity, with a budget and board of directors. And they’re moving fast, aiming to have the new organisation in place by the end of April.

All those involved stress that this is not about one federation parking its tanks on another’s lawn. Chairman of the new group, British Woodworking Federation (BWF) president and chief executive of Performance Timber Products Roy Wakeman said he wanted all Accord members to join.

BWF chief executive Iain McIlwee also said that there would be no diminution of service from individual federations. They would still represent their members’ specific interests. But at the same time, they would have the benefit of grouping with the rest of the industry to have maximum impact on shared issues. Together they would be able to stand up for their common interests and get the generic messages to the market on timber’s environmental and technical performance.

The Wood for Good campaign is a powerful example of what this industry can achieve when it unifies on common goals. Its latest developments, a timber life cycle analysis database, and a survey of MPs to identify their knowledge gaps about the material and the business, once more underline its strategic benefit to the whole sector. The CTI wants a relationship with it too, then we really would see the advantages of agglomeration.