22 November 2019
How the timber industries can help solve the housing crisis
A report recently launched by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Timber Industries (APPG) highlights the key role timber industries can play in helping the Government meet its targets for housebuilding whilst working to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The report argues that using timber in construction is key to meeting emissions targets, and urges the Government to implement the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee by increasing the use of timber in construction.
A long-term spending commitment, reform of right-to-buy and building regulations that encourage innovation in construction are amongst the recommendations to the Government made in the report. Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) have long featured in the timber industry. Timber frames are built using off-site construction methods, and are quicker, cheaper, quieter and more environmentally friendly than traditional construction methods.
In order to meet the skills requirement needed to build more homes, the report recommends that Government should place an increased emphasis on construction apprentices and invest in developing construction courses, bringing together skills development with technological solutions.
Martin Whitfield MP, chair, APPG, said: ‘This report addresses an important dilemma governments have: increase housebuilding whilst reducing carbon emissions. The timber industry will provide skilled jobs, it can deliver sustainable and affordable homes and it should be at the forefront of addressing the climate emergency we face. Housebuilding should be part of an environmental revolution that is firmly integrated into our net-zero emissions targets. Using timber will lock carbon within homes for generations and is considerably more environmentally friendly than other core building materials such as concrete'.
Roy Wakeman OBE, chair of the Confederation of Timber Industries, said: ‘We know there is capacity in the industry which can be unlocked with the right policies, regulatory framework, and partnership between the public and private sectors. By bringing together experts from across the timber supply chain - all the way from the forest to the finished house - we will be able to make an even greater contribution'.
The report follows a UK-wide inquiry the APPG launched to explore how the timber industry can contribute towards solving the housing crisis.
David Hopkins, Managing Director of the Timber Trade Federation and TRADA Board Member, added: ‘Timber is the proven solution to building houses quicker and better quality to help meet both the housing crisis and lower our carbon emissions. TTF members abide by a responsible purchasing policy – which means in the UK you have timber you can trust, with sustainable sourcing ensuring there are more trees planted for every one cut down'.
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