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Woodknowledge Wales

May 2019 Newsletter
Reforest Wales Now! - WoodBUILD 2019 come and join the discussion

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.


Gary Newman
Chief Executive, Woodknowledge Wales Ltd
Book WoodBUILD here...


Trees, plantation forests and the future of our planet 

In this video, narrated by Sir David Attenborough he imagines a future – one where we’ll have protected our ancient forests, be able to harvest all the timber we’ll ever need, have stabilised our climate and have more natural forest than any of us have ever known. Watch the video its just 8 minutes. 

Ethics over aesthetics - its time for architects to take reponsibity   

Architects can limit the environmental impact building has on our changing climate using their power as specifiers, they just need to take responsibility and do it”, says Christine Murray in an article published in dezeen on 28 March.  

Timber strength grading - what you need to know  

For structural timber, certain key properties need to be assessed in order to ensure building safety, and economic use of the material. The means by which this is achieved is known as “strength grading”. A strength class is simply a grade with associated numbers for strength, stiffness and density that can be used in design.  Read the article by Dan Ridley-Ellis.

Home-Grown Homes Project Updates

Background Project Information Here

Latest Home-Grown project updates from David Hedges.

The Home-Grown Project, a 36-month long research study linking timber growing, processing, manufacturing and use in the building of social housing, has just begun its second year. The latest meeting of partners at Machynlleth’s Forestry Hub reviewed progress and considered the results of an evaluation of the project carried out for Powys County Council. Read more here.

Welsh timber frame manufacturers - ready to respond to demand but support needed

For off-site manufactured products to be truly successful, a number of changes are necessary. Clients need to accept that investment in manufacturing capacity requires far greater transparency of forward demand and commitment to the supply side. Read more here.

Sevenoaks Modular invests £6.5m to regenerate Metal Box site

Woodknowledge Wales member Sevenoaks Modular, a Neath-based specialist in timber frame construction, aims to invest £6.5m in acquiring and regenerating a large part of the metal box site in Neath. For more information read the full article published on 8 April 2019 in pbctoday.

Improving housing quality through performance monitoring  

Diana Waldron has joined the Home-Grown Homes Project as part of the team working on the project at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Diana will be working on building performance assessment using a variety of techniques such as dynamic thermal modeling, thermal bridge analysis, fire performance and occupant safety, diagnostic air permeability tests and occupant well-being interviews.  

Event 22 May: Cardiff

22 May 2019
Passivhaus Social: Cardiff

Speakers include Ian Williams from Welsh Government, John Palmer from the Passivhaus Trust, Architype, Emma Osmundsen from Exeter City Council, Jasper Meade and James Anwyl from PYC Construction and Gary Newman from Woodknowledge Wales. More information here.
Book Passivhaus Social here...

Event 26 June: Bangor

26 June 2019
WoodBUILD - Becoming a High-Value Forest Nation

Expanding Welsh forest cover, product and manufacturing innovation, zero carbon homes, new schemes and policies. Come and find out what's going on in Wales and how our sector is becoming part of the climate change solution.  Book now to take advantage of early bird registration rates. Read more about the event here.
Book WoodBUILD here...


Woodknowledge Wales is an independent for-public-good membership organisation committed to the development of wood-based industries to benefit the economy the environment and the people of Wales. Our work would not be possible without the support and collaboration of our Members. To get involved and to find out about member benefits please contact us today







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