Government commits to more timber construction

The Government has set out an ambitious plan to raise the use of timber in the construction of homes and buildings.

It has published a roadmap to boost the safe use of sustainable UK timber in construction while planting forests to increase domestic timber supply.

By planting forests and stimulating construction it aims to reduce emissions and reach net zero, while boosting the economy by cutting imports.

Currently 80% of the timber the UK currently uses is imported. Increasing domestic capacity will create new green jobs in the forestry and wood processing sectors, which contribute over £2bn to UK economy.

Only 9% of English new build homes were timber framed in 2019 in contrast to Scotland where this figure was 92%. With England’s low rates of building with timber relative to other countries, there is an opportunity to unlock this industry at scale and at speed.

Despite several remaining outstanding building safety concerns, the report states that it is possible to safely increase the use of mass-engineered timber in some mid-rise commercial buildings and other non-residential buildings where the risks are adequately assessed, and the consequences of failure accounted for.

Forestry Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Investing in timber is investing in growth and levelling up. The built environment is responsible for a huge proportion of UK carbon emissions, and using home-grown timber in construction is key to reducing emissions.

“Promoting the use of timber as a building material is a key part of the government’s Net Zero Strategy. It will innovate the economy, play a role in creating green jobs and also help meet our tree-planting targets.”

Key actions in roadmap

Improving data on timber and whole life carbon
Promoting timber as a construction material
Boosting skills, capacity and competency across the supply chain
Increasing the supply of sustainable timber products
Addressing fire safety concerns to safely expand use of engineered mass timber
Building collaboration with insurers, lenders, and warranty providers
Promoting innovation and high-performing timber construction systems

Click here for Timber in Construction Roadmap

To create a thriving timber construction sector, the Government has also committed build three small school buildings that use the full GenZero system by 2025 and develop five new-build pathfinder projects which develop key themes taken from GenZero by 2028.

Government will also work with industry to explore opportunities for scaling innovations in housing construction using English timber by 2025 and continue to support modern methods of construction to deliver quality homes more quickly and more sustainably though Home England’s strategic plan.

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