The £3m Riverside Sawmills development, which opened last September, includes a mill to provide bespoke timber machining with fast turnaround times and a showroom for the company’s Accent Kitchen range.

Mr Miliband, MP for South Shields, met staff and discussed with managing director Andrew Laver the role timber could make in reducing carbon in the construction industry, particularly the target for zero-carbon housing.

Mr Laver said: “This provided us with an opportunity to demonstrate how we are engaging with the local community and to show how the company-wide approach to protecting the environment is a fundamental factor in our success.”

Arnold Laver undertakes a number of environmentally friendly initiatives and I was pleased to hear the development of using sustainable products is a long-term commitment,” said Mr Miliband.