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Wood Fibre

Volume 456: debated on Thursday 1 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps his Department is taking with the wood fibre and supply industry to identify sources of wood fibre other than coniferous roundwood and sawmill co-products; (111870)

(2) what support the Department is offering to the wood fibre and supply industry to develop new and sustainable wood supply chains.

The 2004 UK Woodfuel Resource Study looked at the potential supply from sources including coniferous and broadleaved woodland, sawmill co-products, arboricultural arisings and short rotation coppice. In England it estimated that there was a potential resource of over 0.5 million tonnes of arboricultural arisings. In addition it is estimated that there is an annual increment of 4 million tonnes of wood, particularly from under-managed broadleaved woodland, that is not currently harvested.

The England Woodfuel Strategy being prepared by the Forestry Commission will make a number of recommendations aimed at increasing the demand for this wood fibre, which is in turn expected to help the development of supply chains, with potential benefits to all wood-using industries.

Through the Forestry Commission we work with the timber industry and timber-using businesses to raise awareness of the role and versatility of wood which is a sustainable resource. For example, supporting the Wood for Good campaign. Generating increased demand is likely to benefit the supply chain.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the potential demand for wood fibre balance in the UK in each of the next two years. (111872)

I have not made any estimate of demand. Based on our forecasts of production and knowledge extrapolated from past information on consumption we believe that it is unlikely there will be a significant change in demand in the short term. With less than 20 per cent. of UK wood and wood product consumption coming from trees grown in the UK, any changes in demand may have more impact on imports than on UK production.