Wood for Good, the UK timber industry’s sustainability campaign has launched its 2012 campaign: “Wood First”.
This is calling for a “Wood First” rule in local authority planning guidance which would require sustainably sourced wood to be considered, where feasible, as the primary construction material in all new-build and refurbishment projects.
The organisation states that this will help the UK meet local, national and sectoral targets for carbon reduction.
Such a rule is already in place in many other parts of the world, most notably France, as a key element of climate policy. Current proposals from the European Commission will enable the carbon stored in harvested wood products to be taken into account in national carbon budgets.
Wood for Good says that several local authorities are already considering versions of the Wood First rule, including a major London borough.
David Hopkins, head of external affairs for Wood for Good said: “Increasing forest cover is recognised as one of the most effective weapons we have in the battle against climate change, and the best way to achieve this is to stimulate demand for sustainable timber and wood products. The introduction of a Wood First rule will help to make this happen.
“Introducing the rule would bring multiple benefits to local authorities. It will help drive efficiencies by increasing the speed of construction, while timber’s exceptional thermal insulation properties will enable them to create homes and buildings that consume less energy.
“When you add in the wider positive economic, biodiversity and community impacts, it’s obvious that one of the most effective ways to build a low carbon future is to start with Wood First.”
The Wood First campaign has strong support from a wide range of stakeholders, including the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), which was the first organisation to set global standards for responsible forest management, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification (PEFC UK) and Confederation of Forest Industries: promoting forestry and wood (CONFOR).