The visit came on the back of concerns raised by the industry through the Wood Panel Industries Federation (WPIF) about the increasing demand for the UK annual wood basket.

Wood-based panel manufacturers are looking to ensure that wood security is at the forefront of future UK business and energy policy. The wood panel manufacturing sector uses 25% of the 11 million tonnes of wood delivered from UK forestry every year.

The minister was joined by Hexham’s local representative Guy Opperman MP, Northumberland County Council leader Peter Jackson and councillor for Hexham East, Cath Homer.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the importance of forestry to Northumberland, and I really hope she takes the message loud and clear about the need to maintain forestry and keep timber costs down on an on-going basis,” said Mr Opperman.

John Paterson, director of Egger Forestry, said the company had been able to discuss the impact of energy policy on its wood supply. “Wood security is vital to underpin our manufacturing capability and future capital investment,” he said.