THE future of the timer industry is brighter than ever before amid moves to build ​more sustainable homes and achieve net-zero targets, a leading trade association chief has said. 

David Hopkins, chief executive of Timber Development UK, said the material should be the first choice for construction in the country, with timber sales booming due to a resurgent housing market. 

Speaking to more than 150 members during the inaugural Timber Development UK AGM and Global Timber Conference, he also outlined his ambitions for the new organisation, which was formed by the merger of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and TRADA.

READ MORE: Forest Research's Timber Price Indices: Softwood sawlog leads the way

“After such a difficult 18 months it was excellent to see so many people in-person and discuss the state of play in the current and future UK timber market," David said after the event, which took place this week. 

“The shifts in the market we have seen in this time are unprecedented with record demand for timber seen this year due to a resurgent housing market and the expansion in private housing and repair, maintenance and improvement (RM&I).

“We have also seen a host of logistical issues throughout the economy as HGV driver shortages and Covid chaos disrupted global supply chains.

“However, what this conference and the discussions we had with our members highlighted is the resilience of the UK timber market as it overcame these barriers to achieve the highest import levels seen in the last 25 years." 

The meeting was held in the same week Forestry Journal reported on another rise in the value of timber in the UK. 

According to Forest Research latest Timber Price Indices, softwood sawlog, coniferous standing sales, and small roundwood are all being sold for more than they were this time last year. 

Forestry Journal: David Hopkins David Hopkins

David added: “Between January and August 2021 there was more than 5.5 million m3 of softwood imported into the UK from an increasingly diverse range of countries.

“The future looks bright for timber as the UK looks to build more sustainable homes and achieve net-zero targets, and the rising number of mergers and acquisitions in the market reflects a growing, and increasingly sophisticated industry." 

Highlights from the event included a timber market presentation from Timber Development UK head of technical and trade, Nick Boulton telling of the resilience of the timber supply chain following a challenging 18 months.

READ MORE: Time for Timber: COP26 leaders told to recognise need for wood in construction

Other notable speakers included a market forecast from the Construction Products Association economics director Noble Francis, as well as an insightful presentation on the increasing frequency of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) within the timber market from Deloitte M&A director Rob Wallace.

The role of M&A as well as private equity in helping strengthen and level up timber businesses to grow quicker, and take on greater opportunities, was then discussed in a panel with BSW chief executive Tony Hackney and National Timber Group chief executive Rob Barclay.

David said: “Now our own merger between TTF and TRADA will ensure the timber industry will have a strong, collective voice as we strengthen the role of timber in construction.

“After such a successful event we are looking forward to more in-person events in the new year as Timber Development UK." 

Members of the Timber Development UK can access the slides from each presenter on the Timber Trade Federation website, linked here: [link], along with the TRADA website shortly.