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Industry seeks commitment to British timber New findings published today by Grown in Britain show that 92 per cent of major UK construction contractors would back an industry-wide commitment to use more home-grown timber and over 60 per cent would specify it in their contracts. The research, which sought the views of UK Contractors Group members, including BAM, VINCI Construction and Kier, on their use of timber, comes as the second annual Grown in Britain Week gets underway to highlight the important role timber plays in the UK economy. Alongside support for a commitment and contract clauses, the results show that 85 per cent of major construction contractors would support Grown in Britain’s aim to increase UK woodland coverage, and 77 per cent would be willing to help their supply chains better source home-grown wood products.

In order to support increasing demand for home-grown timber from the construction industry, the group has developed the first ever licensing scheme to identify British timber and wood products. The licence, launched in the summer, provides the supply chain, customers and procurement teams with a guarantee of the origin of timber products and is helping to bring millions of tonnes of British timber to the market.

Dougal Driver, CEO of Grown in Britain, explains: “The results of our research are very exciting. While our research suggested almost 60 per cent of the timber used in the construction industry comes from the EU, the message from the sector is clear; we want to use home-grown timber where we can. In fact, 70 per cent of the contractors we asked thought their clients would prefer more materials to be sourced from Britain. That’s a remarkable figure, and our role now is to help the construction industry respond to this demand. Our new licensing scheme is a key way to achieve this and provides the supply chain with a robust method of sourcing British timber, making it possible to respond to client demands, demonstrate leadership and support the creation and management of UK woodlands.”

Since launching in 2013, Grown in Britain has continued to attract high profile support from major contractors and businesses. At last year’s Grown in Britain Week, the UKCG agreed a joint statement of preference to use British timber wherever possible.

Steve Cook, Chair of Grown in Britain and Principal Sustainable Development Manager at Willmott Dixon, said:
“Local procurement is an important talking point for the UK construction industry, partly driven by the Social Value Act and is increasingly seen as a key performance indicator for clients and Government alike. Until now though, it has been hard to identify British timber in the market place. The work Grown in Britain is doing will not only help contractor procurement teams and the supply chain identify where timber is coming from, but also stimulate demand for more British timber which in turn encourages investment into woodlands and forests. That will increase supply, but also ensure woodland creation across the country – which is good for people, wildlife and the economy.”

The Grown in Britain initiative is about bringing together people and businesses from across the forestry, construction and retail sectors to both generate demand, and support woodland creation and management. Grown in Britain Week 2014 will be marked by a series of national events, celebrating progress to date.