Confor pledges to support "greener and fairer Wales"

21 December 2021

Confor has welcomed the recognition by the Welsh Government of the importance of forestry and wood in building a "greener and fairer economy" in Wales.

In the 2022-23 draft Budget, presented to the Senedd [Welsh Assembly], there was a clear understanding of the key role that the forestry and wood processing sector has to play in decarbonising the Welsh economy and supplying Welsh timber for Welsh homes - as well as helping to address the nature and biodiversity emergency. 

Confor's Wales manager Anthony Geddes said: “The commitments to support the creation of a National Forest and the development of a Welsh Timber Strategy and the £57 million funding are encouraging. They also provide reassurance to the sector about the Government’s priorities.  

"With the right policies, there is much that the forestry and wood processing sector can do to support the work of the Government in addressing some of its biggest challenges, not only the net zero target [by 2050]. This Budget goes some way to providing the confidence we need to accelerate growth in both tree nurseries and the downstream wood processing industry." 

Mr Geddes urged the Government to also address the skills shortage, adding: "That will be the next big hurdle. Funding is the first step, but we will need further action to encourage the widening of the skills offer." 

He concluded with a commitment to continue working in partnership to deliver the full potential of forestry and wood in Wales. 

"We look forward to continuing to work closely with Climate Change minister Julie James and Lee Waters to deliver healthy forests full of wildlife, good rural jobs and career opportunities for young people in Wales," Mr Geddes said. "We will also be at the centre of innovation in building materials and methods to make Welsh homes more efficient and sustainable.”