Industry News

Timber Trade Federation launches survey on EU membership

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has launched an online survey to collect members’ views on the EU referendum to take place on 23 June 2016. The deadline for submission is Thursday 5th of May 2016.

The survey - available here - will help the TTF understand its members’ needs and expectations about the future of timber industry and UK economy.

The TTF has clarified that it does not intend to take a view. Instead, "it will feed the data into ongoing work through the Construction Products Association (CPA) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)."

“This referendum should make us think about those areas we consider important for social and economic development – in Europe and the UK – and force us to become more proactively engaged in achieving them”, said TTF Managing Director David Hopkins in a recent interview with the Timber Trade Journal.

In the chart below you can see the results of relevant UK business polls on EU Membership (last update: April 2016).

All the figures have been sourced on the organisations' websites.

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PEFC International publishes its Annual Review 2015

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) has released its 2015 Annual Review ‘Seeing the Bigger Picture’.

The report - downloadable here - contains a summary of the most relevant activities developed by PEFC throughout 2015 along with interesting figures and facts.

In details, the Annual Review shows that: - At the end of 2015 272 million hectares of forests worldwide were PEFC certified; - North America and Asia achieved the biggest increase in PEFC-certified forest area, growing by over 7 million and 6 million hectares; - China alone gained 5.6 million certified hectares; - 750,000 forest owners were PEFC-certified; - France, Germany and the UK were the top countries in terms of Chain of Custody certificates issued; - Over 17,700 companies in the world benefited from PEFC's Chain of Custody certification; - 20 countries were developing a PEFC system or preparing to apply for endorsement.

“For me, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the 193 countries of the UN General Assembly was one of the most remarkable achievements of 2015, next to the Paris Agreement,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, commenting on one of the key events of last year.

“The SDGs capture the most pressing issues of our times, the most challenging targets towards a sustainable future, in 17 aspirational, easy to communicate goals,” Mr. Gunneberg continued.

"For us at PEFC, the SDGs help us to better communicate the holistic nature of our work. They recognize the positive contributions of forests rather than treating them merely as a threatened natural resource that requires conservation."


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CPI sounds the alarm: 'Drop in UK paper mills' emissions is linked to declining production'

As reported by the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), figures released through the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) confirm a continued fall in carbon emissions from UK paper mills.

In 2015 emissions were 8% lower than those in 2014 and 46% lower than in 2008.

Anyway, all that glitters is not gold. While some of this reduction can be attributed to investment in new power generation and a continued focus on energy efficiency, much of the reduction is caused by the closure of UK paper manufacturing - the CPI claims.

According to the papermakers, UK industry remains burdened by high energy costs and increasing imports. While the headline focus remains on their impact on UK steel manufacturing, the situation is equally serious for all UK based energy intensive industries, including the paper sector. 

Part of the reason for high energy costs is the impact of EU ETS. The 2015 figures show that 22 out of 29 UK paper mills (in the main scheme) were short of free allocations of carbon allowances. In total, 10% of sector emissions were not covered.

EU ETS recognises that energy intensive EU industrial operations cannot remain competitive if competitors outside the area don’t face the same carbon costs. Accordingly, EU ETS provides that, to avoid carbon leakage, mills should be granted free allocations at a level set by the most efficient sites. However, the agreed number of allowances available for free allocation has been slashed to ensure Member States can continue to sell a large number of allowances to raise revenue. In the UK, the effect of this reduction (or cross sector reduction factor) has resulted in mills receiving around 100,000 fewer allowances than it was agreed they need, with the shortfall increasing each year. Some progress has been made with the delivery by the UK Government of the EU ETS compensation scheme.

This scheme compensates for a proportion of the increased cost of electricity resulting from EU ETS, but this only offsets some of the additional cost due to the limited number of installations eligible for the scheme and State Aid rules limiting the amount of compensation.

CPI Director General, David Workman, commented: “The continued decline in UK papermaking means that two thirds of paper used in the UK is made elsewhere, with associated carbon not being counted in headline figures concerning UK emissions. If the 2050 targets are not to be met by de-industrialisation, then the Government needs to take every opportunity to support industry. The first thing it should do is ensure energy-intensive and tradeexposed industry receives, and continues to receive each year, a full allocation of free allowances set at the level of the best performers in each sector.”


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EU land and forestry policy can help Europe be more ambitious on climate, new Fern study claims

A new study by the Oeko-Institut and the forest and rights NGO Fern suggests the EU could set a positive precedent for international climate policy if it developed a separate pillar with its own target for the so called ‘LULUCF’ sector.

LULUCF (Land use, Land Use Change and Forestry) is one of the most hotly debated topics of the EU’s climate and energy package. The European Commission will shortly publish a proposal for how to integrate LULUCF in the climate package.

According to Fern, creating a separate pillar would prevent the EU from using temporary carbon removals from forests and land to dilute the Effort Sharing Decision.

Hannes Boettcher lead author of the study said: “LULUCF is at a crossroads – depending on how rules are set and where it is integrated in the overall package, it could either increase or decrease the EU’s greenhouse gas target. In this study, we suggest developing a separate pillar with specific criteria the EU could use to design a meaningful target to incentivise better climate performance in LULUCF.”

Fern’s forest and climate campaigner, Hannah Mowat, added: “As every year is hotter than the last, Fern believes we need action on all fronts, reducing emissions and restoring degraded landscapes. Our policies need to reflect that. This needs to be done with and by local communities who are affected by land use decisions and have the right to be involved.”

To read the study in full click here.


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Housing crisis in London: BMF proposes to add extra storeys on existing buildings

The Builders Merchants’ Federation (BMF) has produced its proposal to tackle the housing crisis in London without affecting the Green Belt.

According to the organisation, "new-build housing cannot provide enough homes needed in London to overcome today's housing crisis. Better use has to be made of existing buildings and building upwards to add extra storeys must be one of the solutions that leads to the completion of extra housing in the capital."

John Newcomb, Managing Director of the BMF, commented: “No-one wants a repeat of bad high-rise housing from the past. But the BMF believes better use can be made of existing buildings. As these figures show, there is scope to dramatically increase the number of new homes. Allowing London property to be extended upwards, for limited number of storeys, up to the height of adjoining buildings, without needing prior approval, is a good way to do so. It is not the single solution to today’s housing crisis but it is a good one, worth pursuing”.

The scale of the problem in London is very stark. The figures published jointly by the Minister for Housing and the Mayor of London show that 49,000 extra homes per year are required to narrow the gap between housing demand & supply. Yet on average, only 25,000 additional units have been completed each year since 2008. And of these, fewer than 2% were as a result of projects that included some element of upward extension work.

The BMF concluded its remarks by reminding politicians that demand for housing is far outstripping supply. The concept of enabling London to “build up” more easily should be introduced as quickly and smoothly as possible to allow owner-occupiers and landlords to complete un-contentious projects that conform to the rules.


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