Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry visited Egger (UK) Limited’s wood-based materials manufacturing site at Hexham in Northumberland.
She was joined by Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman Northumberland County Council Leader Councillor Peter Jackson and Councillor for Hexham East, Cath Homer.
“It was a pleasure to be in Hexham with Guy Opperman MP and visit the Egger plant to meet representatives of the Wood Panel Industry and discuss the importance of forestry to the UK Economy,” said Perry, “It’s great to see manufacturing firms continuing to invest domestically and bringing highly skilled, quality jobs to the area.”
Opperman added: “I was delighted to welcome Energy Minister Claire Perry to EGGER in Hexham to show off one of our top local employers. It was a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the importance of forestry to Northumberland, and I really hope she takes the message loud and clear about the need to maintain forestry and keep timber costs down on an ongoing basis.”
The visit comes on the back of concerns raised by the industry through the Wood Panel Industries Federation (WPIF) about the increasing demand for the UK annual wood basket.
Wood-based panel manufacturers are looking to ensure that wood security is at the forefront of future UK business and energy policy. The wood panel manufacturing sector uses 25% of the 11 million tonnes of wood delivered from UK forestry every year. UK manufacturers supply approximately 65% of the total UK annual consumption of wood-based panel products, which can be found in virtually every office, home and workplace across the country and is relied upon by the furniture, house building and construction industries across the UK.
WPIF director General Alastair Kerr said: “We really appreciate the time and engagement the Minister gave to this visit. Being able to showcase first-hand the nature of the industry, its products and processes is extremely valuable as it creates a more informed context to future discussions that we hope to have with the Minister and her Department.”
Welcoming the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, John Paterson, Director, EGGER Forestry said: “It was a pleasure to host this meeting with the Minister, where we were able to discuss the impact of energy policy on our wood supply. Our industry is at the forefront of sustainable UK manufacturing. I was pleased to show the Minister what we are able to manufacture at Hexham to meet the demands of the furniture, interior design and construction sectors. Wood security is vital to underpin our manufacturing capability and future capital investment.”