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Top contractors support drive for British timber scheme

New findings published today by Grown in Britain show that 92 per cent of major UK construction contractors would back an industry-wide commitment to use more home-grown timber and over 60 per cent would specify it in their contracts.

The research, which sought the views of UK Contractors Group members, including BAM, VINCI Construction and Kier, on their use of timber, comes as the second annual Grown in Britain Week gets underway to highlight the important role timber plays in the UK economy.

Alongside support for a commitment and contract clauses, the results show that 85 per cent of major construction contractors would support Grown in Britain’s aim to increase UK woodland coverage, and 77 per cent would be willing to help their supply chains better source home-grown wood products.

In order to support increasing demand for home-grown timber from the construction industry, Grown in Britain has developed the first ever licensing scheme to identify British timber and wood products.

The licence, launched in the summer, provides the supply chain, customers and procurement teams with a guarantee of the origin of timber products and is helping to bring millions of tonnes of British timber to the market.

Dougal Driver, CEO of Grown in Britain, explains:

“The results of our research are very exciting. While our research suggested almost 60 per cent of the timber used in the construction industry comes from the EU, the message from the sector is clear; we want to use home-grown timber where we can. In fact, 70 per cent of the contractors we asked thought their clients would prefer more materials to be sourced from Britain.
That’s a remarkable figure, and our role now is to help the construction industry respond to this demand.
Our new licensing scheme is a key way to achieve this and provides the supply chain with a robust method of sourcing British timber, making it possible to respond to client demands, demonstrate leadership and support the creation and management of UK woodlands.”
Since launching in 2013, Grown in Britain has continued to attract high profile support from major contractors and businesses including BAM, Travis Perkins, B&Q and landowners such as the Crown Estate. At last year’s Grown in Britain Week, the UKCG agreed a joint statement of preference to use British timber wherever possible.

Steve Cook, Chair of Grown in Britain and Principal Sustainable Development Manager at Willmott Dixon, said:

“Local procurement is an important talking point for the UK construction industry, partly driven by the Social Value Act and is increasingly seen as a key performance indicator for clients and Government alike. Until now though, it has been hard to identify British timber in the market place.
The work Grown in Britain is doing will not only help contractor procurement teams and the supply chain identify where timber is coming from, but also stimulate demand for more British timber which in turn encourages investment into woodlands and forests. That will increase supply, but also ensure woodland creation across the country – which is good for people, wildlife and the economy.”

To underline their commitment and support, contractors Willmott Dixon launched the second Grown in Britain week by inviting Secretary of State for Environment, Elizabeth Truss MP, to a site in Kilburn to see, firsthand, use of homegrown timber in UK construction.

The Secretary of State, Liz Truss said:

Secretary of State Liz Truss on site with Grown in Britain launching GIBweek2014“Forestry plays a critical role in our economy, providing the raw materials used by many businesses in the UK.
The British timber industry is now the seventh largest in Europe…
Grown in Britain is doing brilliant work in increasing the demand for British wood products and attracting investment to the sector.”

Charlie Scherer, Chief Operating Officer for Willmott Dixon Housing said:

Secretary of State Liz Truss on Site with WIllmott Dixon“A stronger UK timber industry is better for our business. Operating in the construction, maintenance and retrofit sectors, we use a vast amount of timber.
With global demand for timber set to triple by 2050, the more the UK is able to meet its future needs, the more sustainable and resilient we will be as a sector. 
We want to play an active part in delivering initiatives that leave a real legacy and supporting Grown in Britain is a clear way in which we can make a difference in local communities for generations to come. “


The Grown in Britain initiative is about bringing together people and businesses from across the forestry, construction and retail sectors to both generate demand, and support woodland creation and management. Grown in Britain Week 2014 will be marked by a series of national events, celebrating progress to date.

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Read more about the UK timber licence