Figures released by timbertrends show that 80% of the timber produced in the UK during 2005 was from forests governed by sustainable management schemes.

Some 8.26 million tonnes of softwood roundwood was harvested from the UK’s forests during the year, with timbertrends ascerting that 6.6 million tonnes met UK Woodland Assurance Standard requirements and was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The results have led the Confederation of Forest Industries (ConFor) to claim that the UK is playing a leading role in forest management.

Stuart Goodall, executive director of policy and research at ConFor, said: “These findings underline the sound, sustainable practices adopted by the vast majority of those responsible for managing Britain’s forests.”

His comments were echoed by Tim Rollinson, director-general of the Forestry Commission.

“The UK is at the forefront of forestry certification worldwide,” said Mr Rollinson.

“To achieve 80% sustainability in five years is a huge achievement by the sector.”

Mr Rollinson noted that the UK’s timber industry still needs to work on replacing non-sustainable materials like concrete with wood, while Mr Goodall added that increasing demand for sustainable goods from customers and the threat of global warming has made the UK’s timber industry “alive to the sensitive role” it must adopt.