The UK’s forest industries sector is to undergo further consolidation following the Forestry & Timber Association’s (F&TA) overwhelming vote in favour of a merger with the Confederation of Forest Industries (ConFor).

F&TA chairman John Firn welcomed the 93% vote in favour of amalgamation at the association’s AGM in Chepstow as “good news” for members.

He said: “Our closer integration into the UK woodchain alongside our partner organisations will both enable a more competitive supply chain and build on the policy leadership that we set out in our manifesto last September.”

Mr Firn said ConFor enjoyed strong and active support from the UK and devolved governments, plus other rural stakeholder partners, all of whom will be actively involved in taking members’ interests forward through ConFor.

F&TA executive director Chris Inglis said the move reflects continuing business and policy changes in the external environment in which the association operates, such as devolution and competition from overseas.

ConFor chief executive David Crichton welcomed the “far-reaching decision”, which he said demonstrates a “firm commitment to creating a coherent and powerful voice for the industry”.

The F&TA’s business, assets and liabilities are to be transferred to ConFor. Once the merger is complete, the association will cease to exist as a separate legal entity but will continue as the forestry and timber division of ConFor.

The F&TA’s history extends back about 90 years, having its earliest roots as the Landowners’ Co-operative Forestry Society Ltd in 1911. Since then it has changed name and merged several times, most recently when the Timber Growers’ Association amalgamated with the Association of Professional Foresters in January 2002.