A report by the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Timber Industries indicates the potential to contribute positively to both the unemployment issues and the affordable housing backlog. It has equal relevance to South Africa.
It cites Scotland, as being a region where timber has been embraced as an affordable housing building material, with over 83% of new-build homes constructed using timber.
Within the report, Martin Whitfield MP Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Timber Industries, writes: “The timber industry will provide skilled jobs, it can deliver sustainable and affordable homes and it should be at the forefront of addressing the climate emergency we face.
“This is a sector that has proven it can provide skilled long-term careers, beginning with apprenticeship programmes from forestry all the way through to the housebuilding industry. We are not only leading the way but crucially changing perceptions about the effectiveness and durability of this core material to build homes for the future.
“I passionately believe that if we can continue to provide home-grown timber… this material is best placed to build the millions of new homes we will require over the next 25 years. There is an ecological imperative in increasing the use of wood-framed homes. We are in the midst of a climate emergency and this requires fundamental changes to our built environment and our future infrastructure. Housebuilding should be part of an environmental revolution that is firmly integrated into our net-zero emissions targets.
“Using timber will sequester carbon within homes for generations and is markedly more environmentally friendly than other core building materials such as concrete. Following discussions in the preparation of this report, the enormous potential of timber as the building block for carbon-neutral buildings in the near future was clearly made.
“Throughout the UK we seem to have all the jigsaw pieces on the table, a thriving wood and forestry sector, world leading technical expertise, architects at the forefront of design and an enthusiastic potential workforce,” says the report.