THE Welsh Government should build more affordable housing using home-grown timber to achieve a green recovery, a new report has urged.

Constructing new affordable housing using Welsh timber could help re-energise employment opportunities and environmental devastation post COVID-19, the report by Woodknowledge Wales has found.

Despite the Welsh Government investing a record £2 billion in affordable housing this term, Woodknowledge Wales has identified the importance of constructing more social housing using Welsh-grown wood and labour – with only 4 per cent of wood in the timber supply chain entering the construction market.

To facilitate post-pandemic recovery, Woodknowledge Wales’ Home-Grown Homes project champions the development of wood-based industries in helping to ensure the government’s ambitious 2050 net-zero-emissions target is hit.

The report outlines policies the Welsh Government could adopt through investing in Home-Grown Homes, such as the economic, environmental, and societal impact of using timber for construction, particularly in social housing.

READ MORE: Scotland ‘on track to meet tree-planting targets’

Woodknowledge Wales proposes that using high-quality Welsh timber in housing construction can allow homes to meet the resource needs of a low-carbon society, while being economically viable.

Plans to achieve a carbon-neutral economy are already underway. Social landlord ClwydAlyn and Woodknowledge Wales have secured funding from the Welsh Government to explore the potential to establish a Zero Carbon Housing Performance Hub in Wales, supporting housing associations in the delivery of carbon-neutral homes.

Gary Newman, Woodknowledge Wales chief executive, said: “Wales has many natural advantages to being a forest nation: fantastic climate for growing the kind of trees that industry needs, the land and workforce for new industries, and proximity to almost limitless export markets for high-value timber products.

“Creating a more robust timber supply chain in Wales also means more jobs, upskilling and income to our economy. It can also enhance woodland management, leading to greater tree-planting practices for carbon offsetting and generating income from carbon credits.”

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