Industry News

British Woodworking Federation calls for Apprenticeship Levy delay

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has announced it will support the call for one-year delay in the Apprenticeship Levy’s introduction

Whilst further information is expected imminently, the Apprenticeship Levy is currently scheduled to take effect in early 2017 and at the moment BWF, along with Build UK and the CBI, feel that this will give companies insufficient time to plan for the new arrangements. 

"With Apprenticeship Levy set to be introduced on 6 April 2017, some employers will be required to contribute to a new levy, and there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers", explains the BWF in a note.

"All employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, will be required to make an investment in apprenticeships. Businesses can benefit from this investment by training apprentices, although how the proposals are likely to impact on smaller business is currently unclear."

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PEFC launches pilot project to test feasibility of remote internal audits

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) has launched a pilot project to test the feasibility of conducting internal audits remotely.

The PEFC Chain of Custody standard currently requires that the internal auditing program of a multi-site certification includes the physical, onsite auditing of every site annually, before the external audit is conducted by an independent certification body.

This initiative will allow participating organizations to establish and utilize their own computer assisted auditing techniques in order to conduct the internal audits of their sites remotely.

The results from this pilot project will then be taken into consideration in the ongoing revision of the PEFC Chain of Custody standard.

Any organization holding a valid PEFC Chain of Custody multi-site certificate - where the sites have largely homogeneous chain of custody processes - can apply to participate in this pilot project by completing this online registration form.

There will be an administration fee of 500 CHF (£384) for all the organizations chosen to take part in the pilot project.

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Planning permissions reach highest level since 2008, but it's not enough

The number of planning permissions granted for new homes in Q1 of this year remained high, HBF and Glenigan’s latest Housing Pipeline report shows. Permissions for 66,102 homes were granted in the first three months of the year in England, up 4% on the previous year. 

As underlined by the Home Builders Federation (HBF), permissions have risen steadily every year since 2009, with actual housing supply also increasing markedly over the past two years as more of the permissions have progressed to the point where builders can begin building. The last 12 months have seen a 66% increase in permissions granted on the nadir of the recession in 2009. Numbers are now only 0.3% below where they were at the highest point in early 2008.

Nonetheless, demand for new homes remains extremely strong. HBF estimates there is a shortfall of well over one million homes in England. Almost a third of young people (3.35m) are living at home with their parents and 1.24 million people are on housing waiting lists. The Help to Buy equity loan scheme continues to drive demand for new homes and interest rates remain historically low.

Over 180,000 new homes were added to the housing stock in 2014/15 – up 22% on the previous year - as house builders increased output in response to the rise in demand for new homes.


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Confederation of Paper Industries appoints new Director General

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has appointed Andrew Large as new Director General. Mr Large - who will take office on 1st September - succeeds David Workman.

Mr Large [in the picture on the left] has worked in the EU Commission in Brussels, in the Steel Industry and has run two major trade associations, most recently The British Poultry Council.

He was also the Chairman of the Trade Association Forum between 2008 and 2011. 

On his appointment, Mr Large said: “I am delighted to be joining CPI. I have known David (Workman e.d.) for many years and greatly respect his achievements in the role. Post the UK referendum decision, these are especially challenging times for the UK’s Paper-based Industries and I am looking forward to working with the excellent CPI team to represent this vital industry in the UK, EU and further afield.”

Mr Workman commented: “My time at CPI has been very rewarding and hugely enjoyable, largely due to the tremendous support that I have received from the team and from the Members. However, the time is now right for a change in leadership, given the Brexit vote and the changes in government that have ensued. I believe that in appointing Andrew, CPI has made a wise choice and I wish him well in dealing with the challenges that will inevitably come his way in the future.”

Patrick Willink, President of CPI, added: “Under David Workman’s leadership, the CPI has established itself as a credible heavyweight Trade Association, with a great depth of knowledge and the ability to influence at a national and European level. This influence has, over the years, derived a great deal of value for our industry."

“The immediate future presents us with a whole new set of issues as we try to unravel the real impact of Brexit. Andrew Large’s previous experiences and areas of expertise will allow him to influence policy makers in both the UK and Europe to secure the best he can for our businesses.”


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WRAP publishes paper & wood packaging recycling forecasts for 2014-2020

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has published estimates for the amount of paper and wood packaging likely to be recycled by 2020.

The figures - collected in two different reports (Paper & Card Flow 2020 and Wood Flow 2020) - offer an overview of the quantity of material being placed on the market (POM) and recycled in 2014. The project also projected future POM figures and recycling rates to 2020.

The Paper & Card Flow 2020 report estimated paper and card packaging POM in 2014 at 4,749k tonnes, an increase of 862k tonnes from the estimated current figure.

Key findings include:

  • Using the new POM figure of 4,749k tonnes, the UK achieved a 73% recycling rate in 2014 with 3,470k tonnes of paper and card packaging being recycled by accredited reprocessors or exported.
  • There was an estimated 367k tonnes of unaccredited paper and card packaging reprocessing in 2014 (10% of total recycling).
  • Auto regression projects the recycling rate could rise to 82% by 2020 (if there had been no protocol EN023 update), but applying the revised EA Protocol EN023, updated prior to publication of this report and applicable from 2016, suggests the WRAP – Paper and Card Flow 2020 4 recycling rate could rise to 85% 1 , although stakeholders predict some tapering off by 2020.
  • All scenarios (tapered and auto regression), with and without the amendment to EA protocol being applied, are projected to exceed the Directive 94/62/EC2 target (60%) currently in place up to 2020 for paper and card packaging.
  • EA Protocol EN023 for mixed paper and card requires updating.

Regarding wooden materials, the Wood Flow 2020 report estimated wood packaging POM in 2014 at 1,310k tonnes, an increase of 276k tonnes from the estimated current figure. 

Key findings include:

  • Using the new POM estimate of 1,310k tonnes, the UK achieved a 31% recycling rate in 2014, with 412k tonnes of wood packaging recycled by accredited reprocessors/ exporters;
  • In 2008, there were 940k tonnes of accredited recycling; however, by 2014 this had dropped to 412k tonnes. The project team believes this decrease in accredited recycling is largely due to waste wood packaging being used in end markets which have not raised PRNs such as in biomass. And to a lesser extent due to the PRN value being low in the recent past, meaning some recyclers may not have registered to issue PRNs;
  • There was an estimated 372k tonnes of unaccredited wood packaging recycling in 2014 (47% of total recycling);
  • Recycling projections predict a decrease in accredited recycling (down from 412k tonnes in 2014 to 324k tonnes in 2020), but a slow-down in the rate of decrease Wood Flow 2020 compared to the previous six years. Based on the projected POM estimate for 2020, the UK would achieve a 24% recycling rate in 2020
  • Wood packaging recycling is projected to continue to comply with the Directive target (15%) currently in place to 2020. However, future revisions of this target could put UK compliance at risk.


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