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Government Publishes Timber in Construction Policy Paper

NorDan UK backs timber as a key to net-zero construction in England.

On Monday, December 11th2023, just 24-hours before the closing of proceedings at COP28 climate conference in Dubai, the UK Government published a Policy Paper focusing on the importance of timber in decarbonising construction and the built environment in England.

The Timber in Construction Roadmap highlights the Government’s ambition to promote the use of safe and high performing timber in construction as part of achieving its net-zero carbon target.

The paper, published by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, also identifies the need to find the best practice that will deliver net-zero pathway, alongside other low carbon products and resource efficiency measures.

The Government is clear that: “Timber in construction can reduce the Whole Life Carbon, the full carbon impact, of our built environment.

“The carbon impact of the built environment is made up of both operational carbon from the type of energy or heating systems within the building and the embodied carbon resulting from the manufacture, maintenance and disposal of the construction products that comprise the building or structure.

“Use of timber can reduce the embodied emissions in a single building by 20% to 60%.”

The report also sets out seven key policy priorities.

  • Improving data on timber and whole life carbon.
  • Promoting the safe, sustainable use of timber as a construction material.
  • Increasing skills, capacity, and competency across the supply chain.
  • Increasing the sustainable supply of timber.
  • Addressing fire safety and durability concerns to safely expand the use of engineered mass timber.
  • Increasing collaboration with insurers, lenders, and warranty providers.
  • Promoting innovation and high performing timber construction systems.

In response, Craig Greenwood, Commercial Director, NorDan UK Ltd said: “NorDan UK broadly welcomes the Government’s Timber in Construction Roadmap, and we wholly support the recognition of timber as essential to reducing embodied and operational carbon emissions in construction and across the built environment."

“NorDan UK also agrees that improving performance data on timber and whole life carbon is essential to enabling the construction industry to make more informed decisions on the value of timber building materials, and we urge manufacturers to seek independently validated Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) on their timber products.

Craig concludes: “Although NorDan UK understands the reasons to increase domestic UK timber production, there is currently enormous capacity for sustainable timber across Northern Europe, so much so that in 2023 we could have built a new family sized home every seven seconds. Construction does not need to wait and can realise all the low-carbon benefits via imported timber today.”

Dec 19, 2023
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