Forestry and wood 'can make North East greenest region'

20 December 2018

The North-East has a real opportunity to become the greenest region in England by capitalising on its potential to plant more trees, built more with timber and create added-value wood products.

Paul Brannen, MEP for North-East England, outlined the vision to the Superwood conference in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 

He said: "We might not know it, but we are all part of the Superwood campaign. It's a campaign to plant more trees, do more with timber and create jobs and the greener economy we want to see." 

He felt there were huge opportunities to make products like cross-laminated timber in the North East and to use them to build higher wooden buildings. "There is more wood construction in the North East and more use of engineered timber - but it is happening too slowly. In ten years' time, I think wood will be dominant in building homes - but we don't have ten years in the fight against climate change."

Mr Brannen also stressed the opportunity for the North East to benefit from the growing bioeconomy.  

"We can make things from wood that we have always made from fossil fuels in the past," Mr Brannen said. "But there is a gap in the market in the UK bioeconomy with wood as a feedstock. There is plenty of opportunity to bring timber in through North East ports while we get about planting and growing more." 

Mr Brannen was a strong supporter of the Doddington North planting scheme in Northumberland, along with Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan. There was a "common agenda" across the parties for new productive platning, he said. 

Mr Brannen said it was also crucial to showcase tree planting in the urban fringe, closer to centres of population.