The Timber Trade Federation has released its annual Statistical Review for 2016. The review shows that timber has maintained its place among the larger manufacturing sectors, and moved into the top 10 fastest growing UK manufacturing sectors, achieving 11.4% growth in wood products on the previous year. UK forestry and logging was shown to have grown by 20.4%. The growth rate in the wood and wood products sector also outperformed many related industries, such as furniture, plastics and the construction of buildings.
Together, the forestry and wood products sector achieved a combined value of £9.5 billion in turnover.
Despite this, the figures show that the timber market for 2015 suffered a small contraction from the previous two very strong years of growth. This was not exclusive to the timber industry however and reflected the overall economic slowdown in the UK, Eurozone and across the globe.
Having followed a general trend of growth from 2008 to 2014, domestic and imported wood consumption decreased in 2015 by 1.8%. This was predominantly due to changes in imported product consumption: Hardwood and MDF consumption decreased, whilst softwood remained stable and plywood and fibreboard consumption grew from 2014.
There were also decreases in UK exports, UK production and the share of UK produced timber consumption vs imported timber.
David Hopkins, TTF Managing Director, commented: “These statistics show the value and importance of the timber supply chain to the UK economy. This is a well-established supply chain, with great growth potential. However, like all other sectors we are dependent on a joined up economic policy approach across the country."
"The upheaval of Brexit may have caused uncertainty, but is also an opportunity for us to show our worth. If the Government is serious about creating an “industrial strategy” then we must put forward the case for the timber manufacturing sector providing skilled jobs in every constituency across the country. These statistics help us do just that.”
This year the review has been redesigned with new sections dealing with the impacts of the housing market, GDP and currency movements on the timber industry and a profile of the Grown in Britain campaign.