UK homegrown sector lobbies minister on log supply/pricing crisis

6 February 2018

About 30 representatives across the UK homegrown timber industry met in Edinburgh with Scottish minister Fergus Ewing on Monday to discuss the current log supply/price crisis gripping the sector.

Sawmills and other timber processors came together with the Forestry Commission and others in the supply chain at the meeting with the cabinet secretary for the rural economy and connectivity.

Stuart Goodall, chief executive of Confor, said the industry wanted to be open with decision makers about the situation which has seen many sawmills reduce production in the face of rocketing log prices.

And, he said, the positive outcome was that the Scottish government would now be looking to issue clarifications to ease restrictions on harvesting so that more timber could be released on the market.

Mr Goodall said there was an inconsistency in the way forest regulations were being interpreted, with the result that some areas had not been harvested. He also highlighted the need for more fulsome and clearer statistical information on timber flows.

“We do not have a good handle on statistical information,” he said. “We need to understand where timber is going.” Additional pressures for traditional buyers of timber, such as sawmills and panel mills, include an increase in log exports and wood raw material purchasing by the biomass energy sector.

TTJ’s February issue will contain a special report on the serious log price/availability situation facing the homegrown timber industry.