“Hardwood Timber on the up” say Grown in Britain

Active management of woodlands reaps many benefits for wildlife, access and recreation. Managed woodlands can also produce valuable timber.

We import hardwoods from all over the globe and yet we have a vast amount in our own, often under managed, woods. Grown in Britain encourages woodland owners to look closely at their woods and see what might be ready to thin or fell and take advantage of the growing demand for homegrown timber and boost the health of the woodland at the same time.

We have updated our price/size curve data for several different hardwood tree species commonly grown and sold in the UK. This information, found here https://bit.ly/2BKSjJ4, has been updated to account for increases in value across the board in 2018.

Overall markets have picked up this year – some markedly, others more modestly.

The main changes to note of interest are:

  1. Oak – Firewood is up by 10-15% and Planking is up by 30% showing a strong demand
  2. Ash – firewood is up by 20-30%  and Planking is up by 10% (export) showing a strong demand 
  3. Beech / Sycamore – firewood is up by 10-15% and Logs are up by 5-10% (partly export market pull)
  4. Sweet Chestnut / Lime / Poplar  – Firewood/(biomass) is up by 15-20%
  5. Poplar Logs is up by 20%
  6. Sweet Chestnut Logs are up 15-20% 
  7. Harvesting rates are rising on an average of 10% 

Biomass is pushing up the pricing for all grades of firewood and the firewood market is responding by paying stronger prices, notably for what it particularly wants (Ash).

Oak is in strong demand due to several reasons:

  • weak pound
  • China buying up French oak
  • weaker import availability

Hence Oak sawn timber prices are high, with concurrent prices for millable round oak. Also it is worth noting that Oak reached record prices at the November Hardwood Auction in Cirencester 

Chief Executive of Grown in Britain Dougal Driver says: “Wood is one of nature’s wonder materials, renewable, versatile and ubiquitous. It has long been undervalued against less sustainable materials. Buyers may wince at steadily rising prices such as these we have recorded in our latest pricing tables but demand across the world is set to steadily rise and rise and so increases should be passed up the supply chain as it is an amazing substance and should be valued accordingly.”

Chairman of the Forestry Commission, Sir Harry Studholme said: “The rising prices of hardwood timber are fantastic news for woodland owners. Higher prices justify and encourage woodland management, and this management supports future production of this beautiful raw material. More than this, well-managed woodlands help plants and wildlife to flourish and store carbon to help tackle climate change.  Grown in Britain are doing an exceptional job to develop the market for hardwood timber and realise these benefits.”

In summary – it is good news! Demand all around is on the rise with the supply of British timber increasing. By continuing to encourage woodland owners to relook at their woodlands and forests to see the value of the timber they are growing, this will continue to drive up the supply and demand for British hardwood timber.

This work is kindly supported by Pryor and Rickett Silviculture and Forestry Commission.