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Shadow Forestry Minister visits EGGER to get enlightened on forestry industry

 Monday, June 3, 2024

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Confor_EGGER forestry

Toby Perkins MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister responsible for Forestry, witnessed the extensive scale of the forestry industry during his visit to Egger in Hexham. There, he met with business leaders spanning from nurseries to sawmills and panel board manufacturers. Accompanying Mr. Perkins was Joe Morris, the local Labour candidate for Hexham.

Organised by Confor, the visit offered an opportunity to highlight to the shadow minister the significance of the forestry industry in regions like the far north of England. Discussions also focused on the importance of ensuring future wood supply to support ongoing investment, including through woodland creation.

“Toby has taken a real interest in the industry”, said Confor CEO Stuart Goodall “and he can see that when businesses in the sector have confidence in the future they have a track record of investing hundreds of millions of pounds in areas like Northumberland and Cumbria, securing and creating thousands of jobs.”

As well as a tour of the impressive Egger facility, Toby Perkins discussed issues of timber security, the reliance of the bulk of the industry on softwood, and the benefit of using more home-grown wood, especially in house building and construction.

The discussion also ranged across recruiting new people into the industry, including diversifying the workforce, training, opportunities for farmers to create new productive woodland and the importance of woodland creation of fast-growing trees for net zero.

Reflecting on next steps, Mr Goodall said “We hope to take Toby out to see forestry at work in southern England where issues like squirrel and deer control are particularly important and maintain a dialogue with the Labour Party”.

And he added, “There is only a small team in Confor to represent the sector across the UK, so I was very grateful that so many members gave their time to meet with Toby, and that Alastair Kerr of the Wood Panel Industry Federation was able to join us. There is a lot of work to do ahead of the General Election and active member support will be vital”.

Read more news on: Confor, forestry, forestry industry, softwood, timber, sawmill

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