A French government decree to increase the level of wood used in new buildings is “exactly the sort of thing the UK government should do”, according to Timber Trade Federation chief executive John White.

Mr White was responding to France’s proposals (by application of draft law Grenelle 1) to increase the mimimum level of wood use in houses to not less than 20 cubic decimetres per m² of floor area.

“We have spent so much time arguing about the definition of zero carbon under the Code for Sustainable Homes that we haven’t actually just bitten the bullet and done what the French have done,” said Mr White. “The case for sustainable wood is unarguable.”

The European Commission has been notified of the decree. Member states and the commission have until December 7 to make comments, with a three-month postponement possible only if the measure is believed to introduce a barrier to trade.