Margaret Hodge, minister for industry and the regions, made the commitment during a Westminster Hall debate instigated by the Wood Panel Industries Federation (WPIF) and the all party parliamentary group for the panels industry led by Paddy Tipping MP.

Martyn Jones MP, whose constituency includes chipboard producer Kronospan, told assembled MPs that government policies aimed at growing the use of renewable energy theatened the survival of the UK wood panelling sector. He said power stations aided by government subsidies could outbid the panel industry for wood raw material.

“The wood panel industry operates on low margins and is subject to significant foreign competition, so its ability to pay more for that resource is therefore limited,” said Mr Jones.

Mr Jones said if co-firing (burning of wood and fossil fuel together) was further encouraged the panels industry could face a “rapid demise” as demand for timber would outstrip supply.

In reply, Ms Hodge said the panels industry was important, with a turnover of nearly £1bn, gross added value of £275m and supporting 6,000 jobs. She said the government’s energy review would be published in July and would include a statement on co-firing.

Ms Hodge praised the WPIF’s contribution to the energy review, which has led to lowering biomass purity requirements from 98% to 90%.

“By having a minister present, it draws attention to the issue,” said WPIF director-general Alastair Kerr. “Clearly, the minister recognised the importance of the industry and understood there was an issue.”