Welcome to our February 2021 newsletter.
The research phase
of the Home-Grown Homes Project
is now all but complete. The key reports and guidance documents are published and available on our website
. This feels like a good moment to thank Powys County Council for their foresight in commissioning the project, which has been extremely influential and is now a focus for a collaborative approach to the expansion of the Local Authority build programme.
We’re delighted to have secured some seed-funding
from Welsh Government Housing to initiate the implementation phase
of the Home-Grown Homes project. Meeting Welsh Government's decarbonisation aspirations is going to require the most radical transformation in housing quality and performance ever seen – in both new build and retrofit. We believe the guidance tools that we developed in the Home-Grown Homes project will provide the foundation to support housing clients in the roll-out of the emerging net zero whole life carbon social housing standards.
The Welsh assembly elections are drawing near. Our policy document ‘5 Essential Strategies for an Emerging Forest Nation
’ has been sent to all the main political parties with the aim of influencing their manifestos. Whoever wins the election, we’re confident that the forest industries' role in supporting decarbonisation and creating employment will be the focus of substantial policy attention.
In collaboration with Bangor University, Woodknowledge Wales have won a UK-wide tender to research the top 5 alternative conifer species
for the UK. We’re extremely proud to have been selected for this research project, but the extent to which climate change is causing widespread tree disease and disruption to timber supply chains is truly frightening. There is certainly a pressing need to widen the basket of commercial conifer species available to industry.
Woodknowledge Wales are collaborating with the ASBP in the Timber Accelerator Hub
to address the critical problem of insurance barriers to the use of timber in construction which have become particularly acute in the policy response to the Grenfell Tower fire. Just because wood can burn, does not mean that it is not fire safe. Woodknowledge Wales believes that fire regulations need to be based on science, evidence and risk and not on a simple notion of combustibility. In fact, I believe that where regulations become a barrier to rapid decarbonisation, the regulations should be reviewed in a rational and balanced way.
After the success of our autumn webinar series last year, we are now gearing up for an extensive programme of events in late February and March as part of our Forest Nation Centre programme
of activities. Please visit our events page
Finally, I’d like to welcome the award winning social enterprise Down to Earth
as a new member.
Chief Executive, Woodknowledge Wales Ltd