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Sustainable Alternatives to Timber

Back at the start of June we discussed why timber prices had increased by 80% and how many construction sites, residential projects and other jobs had been delayed and disrupted due to this issue. You can read the hot topic ‘Navigating the Increasing Timber Prices with Alternatives’ here.

We are now a month on from that article’s publish date, and there is still no movement on timber prices, and the industry’s showing no signs of easing any time soon. “The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) said suppliers were “working around the clock” but are “struggling to keep up” according to the BBC News. This means high demand and pressures on the supply chains will only keep pushing the price of timber up.

Previously we considered the effects of the pandemic on these price hikes but it’s not just COVID-19 contributing to the timber disruptions, but also climate change has had a major influence. We’ve seen record breaking wildfires back in 2020 in North America which wiped out a lot of production and there have been early signs, that the 2021 season could be as severe. Alongside this, across the pond in Hereford, there have been reports that a number of ash trees have been felled due to an infestation of Hymenoscyphus Fraxineus or ‘ash dieback’. Climate change has been a factor, causing trees to be more susceptible and vulnerable to pests and infections.

On the other hand, the UK imports 80% of the timber used and forest areas in the UK only covers around 13% of land. The National Farmers Union said, “in 2019, less than 60% of England’s existing woodlands were in “active management”. So why do we have the lowest forest coverage in Europe, yet are one of the biggest importers and users of timber in the world? With the Government setting out net zero carbon commitments, surely the importation of timber into the UK is contributing to the carbon footprint and subsequently climate change.

Sustainable Alternatives to Timber

With climate change effecting the supply of timber, and construction and other industries contributing to climate change by importing timber to the UK… is it time to reconsider the wood industry and find possible alternatives to the use of timber in construction and other sectors?

Sustainable Alternatives to Timber

Sustainability is in the forefronts of many industries minds and so sustainable options to timber, and especially timber hoarding have to be considered for use. FenceSafe Hoard is made from robust composite recycled plastic profile, meaning no timber is needed for this construction hoarding. The FenceSafe Hoard panels can be used multiple times on a job whether that’s on the same site or given back to us to use on a completely new project. Once its lifecycle has ended on construction sites, it’s crushed back down into granules for recycling, and to be made into more panels. This sort of recycled hoarding is a great option for those looking to meet their net zero carbon commitments within sustainable construction.

So, are alternative solutions to timber products the way forward for construction sites & other industries heavily reliant on the timber industry? With net zero carbon commitments alongside sustainable construction promises, the timber shortages and price increases may have a shone a light on the need for a transition from timber to sustainable alternatives.