Superwood: Forestry, timber, and a low-carbon economy

30 November 2018

The huge opportunity to plant more trees and use more timber in construction in the North of England will be the focus of a major conference organised by Confor. Superwood: How forestry and timber can drive a low-carbon economy will bring together the whole industry supply chain, from nurseries to wood processors, as well as architects, politicians, academics and more.

The event - sponsored by Wood for Good and EGGER - will be held at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Friday 14th December. 

Adam James of Ryder Architecture, who is based in Canada, will talk about British Columbia's ambition to drive a low-carbon economy through a high-performance, wood-based building industry, including the world's tallest hybrid wood building.

Paul Brannen, MEP for northeast England and a strong advocate for the forestry and timber industry, will outline his vision for enhanced planting and greater use of wood in construction to transform the regional economy.

The leader of Northumberland County Council, Councillor Peter Jackson, will share his thoughts on the opportunity to plant more trees in the northeast and reduce reliance on imports. Despite Kielder Forest, Northumberland currently has only eight per cent in Northumberland, lower than the rest of England (20 per cent), which is in turn well below the UK average of 13 per cent. 

Richard Baker, Head of Strategy and Policy at the North East LEP, which promotes and develops economic growth in the North East, will present his vision to put the North East at the heart of the future economy.

The first half of the event will concentrate on planting - and the link with trees and climate change. Other speakers include Stuart Goodall of Confor, Beccy Speight from The Woodland Trust and Simon Hart of EGGER Forestry.

After lunch, Christiane Lellig of Wood for Good, will look at growing markets for timber. Other speakers in this session include Adam James, Dan Ridley-Ellis of Edinburgh Napier University, Rob Allen of Citu and Neil Sutherland of Makar Homes..

Christiane Lellig, Campaign Director of Wood for Good, said: “Bringing together people from across the political, academic and economic spectrum to discuss how investment in natural resources can foster a resilient and sustainable future for the region is central to make things happen. We need to shift such discussions from academic concepts to real-life projects. That’s why events like Superwood are important.”

Stuart Goodall, CEO of Confor, said: "Tree planting and building with timber can make a real difference to the economy and environment of North-East England - creating rural jobs and helping the UK meet its climate change obligations. We normally hold a policy conference in London at this time of year, but wanted to move it to a region where there is a real opportunity to make a difference. Superwood will explore the barriers to new planting and timber construction and discuss how to work collaboratively to overcome them."

For details and booking, visit the events page