Dear <<First Name>>,
Wales has declared a climate emergency. The challenge now is for all sectors of our economy (public, private and third) to respond in a way that is commensurate with the need for rapid decarbonisation. That means the time for strategy documents, roadmaps and rhetoric is over. We simply have to make the 2020’s the decade of action.
Wales must become a high-value forest nation, so please come to WoodBUILD 2019 and get involved. More information HERE.
We know that wood is the only industrial material, available at scale, whose greater use can mitigate climate change. With global demand for wood set to treble at least in the coming years, and the UK being the second largest importer of wood in the world, we simply have to plant more trees. A third of global carbon emissions are due to deforestation. Forests are part of the answer (see David Attenborough’s brilliant 8 minute video on forests below)
We currently spend less than 1% of the agricultural support budget on tree planting. If it were 10% we could plant an additional 40,000ha – enough to increase our existing forest cover by 10% so let’s get on with it. Perhaps we could create a state backed pension fund to pay for it. Forestry has always been a good long term financial investment. Now it’s also a moral imperative.
In terms of housing we need to move rapidly to a Passivhaus or equivalent standard. Come to the Passivhaus Social event we’re sponsoring on the 22nd May to find out how. Delivering this will need a support and education programme on a massive scale, but the overall cost of housing would not need to increase by much.
We need to build with home-grown timber. Just 4% of Welsh annual sawlog harvest is sufficient to build 2000 timber house per year. The way to do this would be to set clear priorities to reduce the embodied carbon of construction (we recommend attending this ASBP/RICS event to find out how). We have many advanced timber frame companies in Wales and the borders that are ready to deliver zero-carbon housing at the scale necessary. There is no need to go elsewhere for the answer, but a more strategic and coordinated approach is required. The Welsh Government's pioneering Innovative Housing Programme is enabling many timber approaches to be showcased at scale and has encouraged much greater collaboration. The next 10 years must be about transformation. We know what needs to be done and we know how to do it.
Finally, a warm welcome to three new members, Cartrefi Croseso, Castle Oak and LivEco. We are truly building a collaborative membership from forest to home capable of delivering for the environment, the economy and the people of Wales.
Chief Executive, Woodknowledge Wales Ltd