Plan to ramp up timber use in house building


A plan to increase the use of sustainable UK timber in construction through more domestic supply has been announced by the government.  

The Timber in Construction Roadmap sets out a series of “actions” recommended by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to ramp up timber use in the construction of homes and buildings. 

It comes after COP28 Urbanisation Day, where ministers discussed urbanisation. 

Key actions include: 

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

The built environment makes up around 25 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions. Large buildings could store up to 400 per cent more carbon when constructed from engineered timber products rather than concrete, ministers urged. 

To reduce emissions and target net zero, government plans to step up domestic timber production (currently 80 per cent of the timber the UK uses is imported) and its use in the construction industry. 

Structural Timber Association CEO Andrew Carpenter said: “We are delighted that the UK Government has recognised the critical need to safely increase the use of timber in construction and we applaud the leadership that has been shown in setting this objective. 

“The TIC Roadmap will be a beneficial driver in this effort, which is so vital to meeting the UK’s net zero carbon commitments, giving clarity and guidance to stakeholders throughout the construction industry.  

“It has been a pleasure to participate in such important work and we look forward to continued collaboration between government and industry as we move to the next stage of implementation.” 

Timber Development UK CEO David Hopkins added: “Timber construction has been recognised as essential to tackling built environment emissions by key advisory bodies such as the Environmental Audit Committee and Climate Change Committee. We are delighted to see the government action the recommendations of these bodies through the long-awaited Timber in Construction Policy Roadmap. 

“By expanding low-carbon timber construction, particularly in the housing sector, we can decarbonise our built environment whilst simultaneously building high quality, efficient buildings. Expanding timber construction also offers a range of economic benefits, helping regions to ‘level up’ with green jobs, and creating localised manufacturing bases across the country which add value to raw timber products.  

“Timber Development UK welcomes the policy roadmap, which marks a crucial point in our bid to reach net zero by 2050.” 

Was this interesting? Try Taylor Woodrow appointed to £6bn regeneration project 

If you have a tip or story idea that fits with our publication, please contact the head of editorial rory@wavenews.co.uk 

Get industry news in 5 minutes!

A daily email that makes industry news enjoyable. It’s completely free.