The panel sector has a good story to tell and is beginning to tell it. That was the message from Philip Underwood, president of the Timber Trade Federation at the first annual dinner of the National Panel Products Division.

After a ‘turbulent’ 18 months, he said the TTF had ‘firmly turned the corner’ and was now ‘an effective trade body to represent the industry’s common interests to the outside world’.

Panel products were the TTF’s fastest growing division and were acquiring ‘ever-growing importance’. ‘This may be best demonstrated by the election as vice-president of Geoff Rhodes marketing and sales director of Willamette Europe,’ said Mr Underwood.

Malcolm Cowley, Willamette Europe sales manager and chairman of the newly formed NPPD, said the division’s workload had already been considerable. One result, the Panel Guide, due to be available on CD-ROM soon, was the culmination of a Partners in Innovation Programme sponsored 50% by the DETR and industry (NPPD, Wood Panel Industries Federation, Building Research Establishment and TRADA). He described it as ‘probably the most comprehensive database of panel products’.

Mr Cowley also stressed the NPPD’s desire to increase the profile of the Plywood Code of Practice and provide guidance on the use of Brazilian elliottii pine plywood.