CTI Blog

CTI Blog - CTI putting timber industry back in the spotlight

This blog post is by Dirk Vennix, CTI Chief Executive

We witnessed another memorable moment last week. For the first time in the history of the timber industry more than 40 parliamentarians announced that they would form a group to help grow the use of sustainable timber and develop more vibrant industries across the whole timber supply chain.

On 9 February fifteen parliamentarians attended the first meeting of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Timber Industries and had an initial discussion about tackling key issues such as business growth, sustainability and skills shortages. They unanimously elected a cross-party officers group consisting of Chairman Ian Paisley MP for North Antrim in Northern Ireland (Democratic Unionists), Joint Vice Chair and former minister Cheryl Gillan MP for Chesham and Amersham (Conservatives), Joint Vice Chair Stephen Hepburn MP for Jarrow (Labour), Treasurer and Chair of the Wood Panel Industry APPG Steven Paterson MP for Stirling (SNP) and Secretary and Chair of the Furniture APPG Stephen McPartland MP for Stevenage (Conservatives).

All members of the new group have voiced their willingness to promote the use of timber UK wide but also support local timber related companies. The MPs are really very keen to meet with constituency businesses and as a result the CTI has around a dozen visits in the pipeline already.

The first took place on 12 February when APPG member Pat McFadden MP for Wolverhampton South East went to see CTI supporter John Grimes Sawmills in Wolverhampton. The MP was elected at the 2005 general election and served as Minister of State in the Department for Business in the Tony Blair government. He was also a shadow minister for Europe on the Labour front bench. Pat McFadden was welcomed to the site by Arvid Nielsen, Operations Director of John Grimes Sawmills Ltd (JGS Ltd) and John Dibble, Managing Director of the Building & Plumbing Supplies Group, which are the parent Company of JGS Ltd.

Arvid (pictured below with cap on) runs the manufacturing wholesale business, which has been based in Wolverhampton for over 30 years.  Arvid has been hands on in a variety of wood trade related fields for over 38 years.  Being a third generation wood trade member, he keeps his grandfather and father’s name present in the timber industry as well as trading with some sense of traditional ethical values. JGS Ltd specialise in the production of quality fencing panels which are supplied to fencing contractors and builders merchants all round the country. Arvid gave the MP a tour of the site which is proud to employ 20 staff and manufacture in excess of 10,000 panels per week with yard stock capacity of over 70,000 panels. 

Given his background as a former business minister Pat McFadden was impressed with the manufacturing capability and pleased to hear that the company has plans to expand. Arvid told the MP he is keen to stay in the local area and provide further opportunities for employment and training. John Grimes Sawmills already employs a number of apprentices and is keen to encourage more young people to start a career in timber manufacturing. Pat McFadden said he was happy to help the local business in any way he can.

The launch of the new APPG and the MP visit were good examples of how the CTI is raising the profile of timber industry within the parliamentary world and we are keen to help other supporters to connect with their local MP. Do get in touch if you are one of them.

Pat McFadden MP visit to John Grimes Sawmills
12 February 2016, Wolverhampton