The Forestry Commission is offering to renegotiate harvesting contracts and will fast-track new felling licence applications to help deal with continuing log supply issues caused by the severe weather.

The commission said it was offering to renegotiate contracts in a bid to relocate production to more accessible sites to help increase supplies to mills whose roundwood stock are running low.

It also said it had managed to increase deliveries from the national forest estate from 25% of normal at the start of last week to 42% by the end of the week.

“Although the commission has experienced operational difficulties over the past three weeks, at least 10 sites have remained accessible and have continue to dispatch timber,” it said.

The commission is also organising snow clearance using its own equipment, plus hiring contractors, to increase access to previously snowbound log stocks.

A survey of UK Forest Products Association (UKFPA) members in Scotland and northern England carried out last week showed most sawmills were counting their roundwood stocks in days rather than weeks.

UKFPA president Tony Mitchell said sawmillers and other wood processors were facing “critically low roundwood stock levels”. He said he appreciated the Forestry Commission’s actions, especially clearing snow to enable lorry access and harvesting in more accessible forests blocks.

UKFPA executive director David Sulman said effective communication between all parties was essential to try to minimise disruption to log supplies.