Forestry Commission Wales has announced measures to try to maintain timber supplies in the freezing weather.

In a letter to customers, the Commission’s forestry unit, Wales Harvesting and Marketing (WHaM), says it aims to ensure 40% availability for roadside contractors during the cold weather.

It also offers advice on sensible steps to take during winter, such as preparing contingency “winter work” coupes in easily accessible locations and identifying stockpile areas at strategic points.

It also provides a checklist of actions in the event of disruption, such as prioritising strategic timber routes and ensuring priority uplift sites are targeted, as well as carrying out thorough risk assessments.

WHaM head of harvesting Jerry Pritchard said the main concern was the safety of staff, contractors, stakeholders and the public.

Restrictions on some roads may last for a month, he said, depending on the depth of frost and the structure of the road, and he urged standing sales customers to consider bringing some stock to public road entrances.

“By taking this pre-emptive action, it will allow haulage to continue whilst our roads are carrying the haulage restrictions dictated and controlled by our forest civil engineers,” his letter says.

“This can be achieved by using forwarders for the shorter hauls, lorries running on rubber, or lorries fitted with traction aids where access is restricted due to snow or ice.”

To maintain some supplies to roadside customers, WHaM will endeavour to keep strategic stock points near forest entrances open where possible.

Forestry Commission Scotland said it had winter contingency measures, introduced last year, which it could implement if needed.