The UK Wood Chain (UKW) group is quietly confident that it has amassed enough evidence to ensure it will be recognised by government as the body through which the industry’s development can be managed in future.

Information was presented to a representative of the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) by employers with sawmilling, drying and treatment operations, and all other areas of manufacture, in London last week.

The meeting was called by the UKW, which is in dispute with LANTRA, the land-based industries’ sector skills council (TTJ January 8/15), about which organisation should represent sawmilling in skills and training development.

Mike Marchant of Treeline, the non-profit development body and UKW co-ordinator, said: “We wanted to bring the UKW, LANTRA and the SSDA together to try and resolve everything, but LANTRA chose not to come.

“However, the SSDA representative heard evidence from the sawmillers and treatment people saying they did not want to be in LANTRA. They regard themselves as being involved in an integrated manufacturing process which has nothing to do with land-based skills.”

LANTRA chief executive Peter Martin said his organisation had been invited to a UKW meeting but he had declined as he did not know the SSDA would be present.

An SSDA spokesperson said: “We are aware that the UKW group enjoys considerable employer support and would like to work with them to ensure they are part of the Skills for Business network – the network of Sector Skills Councils which has been tasked by the government with representing the skills needs of UK employers.”

She said comments about LANTRA would be passed on to the appropriate people and that procedures for addressing issues such as the “ownership” of indusry sectors are being reviewed and revised.