A powerful call for the trade to stop undervaluing timber was made by chairman Bill Urmston at the Yorkshire & Humberside Timber Trade Association annual dinner in Hull last week.

Mr Urmston, sales executive at AssiDomän, told his 300-strong audience that in timber the trade has ‘the most versatile of natural products’, but it ‘continually undersells’.

‘Sawn kiln-dried timber is of assistance to the atmosphere during growth, is naturally pleasing to the eye, easy to work and energy efficient – why then are we selling it at price levels of 20 years ago?’

In his opinion, the cause of under-pricing was not necess-arily over-production .

‘Average UK imported consumption is 7.15 million m³ and that would only drop in a quiet year to 6.9 million m³ and rise to 7.4 million m³ in a buoyant year – a differential of 3.5% – so it would not make any difference to consumption figures if the average selling price was £100, £110 or £120/m³.’

The problem, he said, was the industry ‘cutting corners to meet customer needs’. ‘The wet and dry structural timber issue springs to mind,’ he said.

He added that, to date, the trade had also not promoted timber well or ‘pushed it into the 21st century’.

‘I’m pleased we’ve now seen the error of our ways with the wood. for good promotion,’ he said. ‘At last we’ve got a serious campaign aimed at recovering market share and pushing timber to the forefront of people’s minds.’