TIMBER imports into the UK continued to show a steady decline towards the end of 2021 as more "regular demand" returns to the market. 

That's according to industry body the Timber Trade Federation (TTF), which found the volume of products imported into the country declined by 158,000 m3 in November 2021 as compared to the previous month.

READ MORE: Timber imports to UK rise again with nearly 3.32 million m3 bought in

It was the second month in a row where there had been a noticeable decline compared to past figures, with October's volume of imports 16 per cent down on the same time in 2020. 

Despite these reductions, with 768,000 m3 of timber and panel products brought into the country that month, the total volume of imports reported in 2021 exceeds 11 million m3.

TTF head of trade and technical policy Nick Boulton said: “It is normal for timber and panel product imports to tail off towards the winter months as construction demand slows amidst the festive season, and as colder weather deters home and garden renovations.

Forestry Journal: Richard Stanford, right, recently said more timber had to be grown in the UK Richard Stanford, right, recently said more timber had to be grown in the UK

“The fall in the volumes of imports in Q4 2021 also likely reflects the state of supply lines in the structural softwood market which appeared to be largely saturated at that time.

“As the weather improves and demand for timber climbs, we can expect to see timber imports rebound in our trade statistics, which is a regular pattern for the timber industry.

READ MORE: Volume of timber imports drops for first time in 15 months marking 'shift to stability', says TTF

“Over the coming year we expect to see a comparatively stable market – but this doesn’t mean there won’t be any squeeze on the supply chain particularly amidst rising international demand.

“We will be exploring all these trends in full in our next Market Statement, which will come out next month.”

The figures come shortly after the Forestry Commission's chief executive backed a move to encourage farmers to plant more trees, saying it will reduce the amount of timber imported by the UK. 

Richard Stanford said the Woodland Creation Offer, which will pay out £10,000 per hectare of new woodland planted, was the ideal opportunity for landowners to utilise "marginal agricultural" space and contribute towards the climate-change fight.

The UK remains the second-largest net importer of timber in the world behind China. 

He said: “We need to produce our own timber in this country. 80 per cent is being imported."