Industry News

European Forest Industries welcome UN International Day of Forests

The European forest owners, managers, forest industry and professionals - represented by CEPF, Copa-Cogeca, ELO, EUSTAFOR, CEI-Bois, CEPI, FECOF, UEF and USSE - have welcomed the International Day of Forests established by the UN General Assembly for today 21 March.

According to the representatives of the European forest sector, EU needs to better communicate the strong link between forests and water: "Forests have a close relationship to our water resources and sustainable forest management is of crucial importance for ensuring a multitude of water-related benefits."

The above-mentioned forest industry organisations also highlight how European forests enable access to this vital resource: "Forested watersheds and wetlands supply 75 percent of the world’s accessible fresh water for domestic, agricultural, industrial and ecological needs. Forests influence the amount of available water and regulate surface and groundwater flows while maintaining highest water quality. Forests reduce the effects of floodings, and prevent and reduce dryland salinity and desertification. Forests act as natural water filters, minimizing soil erosion on site and reduce sediment in water bodies."

Another key point to underline is the impact that climate change has on water and the role of forests. "Climate change is one of the major challenges facing today’s society. The impacts of climate change are an imminent threat to water security, and forests themselves are vulnerable to climate change. An increased frequency of extreme weather events has an impact on both forests and water, and may result in more catastrophic events like landslides, floods and droughts", the representatives of the European forest sector write.

"Europe’s forest sector is at the forefront of combatting climate change by contributing to both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Active forest management is crucial to enhance forests adaptive capacity, making them more resilient to meet a changing climate and maintaining the vital water-related services provided by forests."


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New IOM3 video: Jim and Spencer explain difference between hardwood and softwood

'jim and spencer explain: HARDWOODS AND SOFTWOODS'

In this new episode of IOM3 (The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining) video series on wood properties, Jim Coulson, member of the board of the Wood Technology Society, and his grandson Spencer explain the main differences between hardwood and softwood.

This innovative campaign, launched by IOM3 and the Wood Technology Society, aims to explain wood charateristics to the general public through a funny and straightforward approach.

Watch the first episode: 'Jim and Spencer explain - Wood Grain'

BMF comment on Budget Statement: "No real action to tackle housing issue"

John Newcomb, Managing Director of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) commented yesterday Budget Statement saying that "unlike previous announcements, George Osborne did not concentrate on changes aimed at housing and the home improvement trade."

“The Chancellor reaffirmed his wish to simplify and speed up planning permission to increase housing completions and at a faster rate. With the Housing and Planning Bill currently before parliament, we are lobbying ministers to maintain the momentum to narrow the gap between housing demand & supply. More supply-side efforts are crucial to shorten the time it takes builders to start onsite and accelerate the number of homes completed", Mr Newcomb added.

Whilst not perfect, Mr Newcomb said the statement presents some improvements: “For most BMF businesses, specific tax changes ought to help both merchants and their trade customers. Future cuts in Corporation Tax and abolishing National Insurance Contributions for the self-employed are very welcome", Mr Newcomb said.

“Easing the rules on Capital Allowances and a promise to look again at qualifying energy-efficiency and water-saving technologies will also be welcomed by the businesses we represent."

“On Business Rates, switching the annual indexation from RPI to CPI, moving to more frequent revaluations, and further administrative simplification are positive steps on the way to fundamental reform of the rating system. But Mr Osborne still has a major change to make - his treatment of firms that invest in plant & machinery. He wants them to modernise and be more productive but manufacturers are penalised because their investment is reflected immediately in the rateable value of premises. This cannot be right", Mr Newcomb concluded.


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'Brexit could cause dramatic shortage of skilled Construction workers', Homebuilders warn

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has recently expressed its concerns about the risk of the UK leaving the European Union.

UK Construction Industry strongly relies on overseas labour due to the endemic skills gap in the sector. In this context - the HBF said - Brexit could cause a dangerous shortage of skilled workers, capable to constrain investment in new house building work and further worsen UK housing scarcity.

“Whilst the industry is recruiting heavily and training thousands of young people it does currently rely on skilled labour from abroad," the Home Builders Federation told Inside Housing magazine.

“If it is to maintain the significant increases in output of the past two years it is imperative it has access to an adequate supply of labour. In the event of us leaving we would certainly be pushing government hard for guarantees that sufficient skilled foreign labour would be accessible.”


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Snows Timber MD Jim Peyer

Snows Timber has announced that its Managing Director Jim Peryer will retire from the company at the end of April.

Peryer led Snows Timber from a 2-site, £12million-turnover business to a 4-site operation with a turnover of £45million and over 200 employees.

Mark Eburne, CEO of Snows’ parent group, Bradfords & Sons, paid tribute to Jim Peryer, saying: “Jim has made an outstanding contribution during his 18-year tenure as Managing Director, improving the business to deliver excellent service to our customers, developing our people and improving our systems and processes."

A well-known figure in the timber trade, Mr Peryer also served on the Committee of the Western Timber Association for 20 years, three of them as chairman, and was the designed chairman of the National Softwood Division of the Timber Trade Federation for three years. He also served three terms on the TTF’s Governing Board.