Representatives from across the hardwood industry supply chain have gathered to underline the importance of ‘buying British’ for the UK timber industry. The Building Connections event, organised by Vastern Timber and Tyler Hardwoods as part of Grown in Britain Week, looked at how the new Grown in Britain licence will grow the domestic timber market against strong competition from importers.

Tom Barnes, Director of Vastern Timber said, “There is relatively little understanding, both within the trade and with designers, of what is actually available from our own woodlands because we’ve not been as effective in marketing the UK timber industry as Americans, French and other importers. Increasing awareness of what is available is what Grown in Britain and its new licensing scheme is all about.

“Having a certification gives people the assurance that what they are using is British and from well managed woodland. It comes at a very good time with the construction market continuing to improve and with more use of timber generally, but all stages of the supply chain, from growers to designers and specifiers, have a job to do in supporting this message. Our Building Connections event attracted some very influential delegates who can make a difference, and I think the event will have had a very positive impact.”

Building Connections was attended by architects, structural engineers, construction companies, woodland management companies, and furniture makers, as well as Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Forestry Commission, and Ed Suttie from BRE.

Dougal Driver, CEO of Grown in Britain said, “Grown in Britain Week is a highlight of our year as it engages all walks of life with the wonderful natural and renewable material that is ‘wood’. A feature of our first ever Grown in Britain Week in 2013, and now a regular favourite is the Building Connections event held at Vastern Timber.

“The company are themselves passionate about British timber, and it was fantastic to see this year’s event attracting architects, timber technologists, growers, construction companies and many others to discuss the barriers and opportunities to using more home-grown material, and what steps we can take to solve issues and drive out solutions. We hope many will follow the lead of Vastern Timber and apply for a Grown in Britain licence so we can see the mark proudly displayed on British wood products.”

As well as a tour of the sawmill facility, and presentations on the state of the industry and the new Grown In Britain licensing scheme, delegates at the event were shown were shown items from the first commercial batch of thermally modified timber produced from British ash and sycamore.