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Wood policy will create jobs, says council

 
Created on 21/06/2017 @ 12:16
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A policy to create local homes and jobs in the county by using home-grown timber and supporting local manufacturing has been launched at a national conference, Powys County Council has announced.

The council’s Powys Wood Encouragement Policy, the first of its kind in Wales and the UK was launched at the Woodbuild Wales 2017 Conference and Expo held last week. 

The policy means that in the future new council homes in Powys will be built and fitted out using local, sustainable, wood materials - supporting the timber supply chain in the county.

The Powys Wood Encouragement Policy sets out that all new council housing projects will look to use wood as the preferred material for both construction and fit-out purposes. This pioneering approach has been developed as part of the Home Grown Home Partnership which was set up to encourage forestry and product manufacturing, retain and create new jobs and build better, and more energy efficient houses.

Cllr Jonathan Wilkinson, Powys County Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “The launch of the Wood Encouragement Policy highlights local timber as an important solution to building more homes and recognises the value of the forestry industry to the economy of Powys. More homes are needed across Wales and Welsh Government recently announced plans to invest £20m in innovative new home building over the next two years. 

 “The forest and wood products industry is extremely important to employment and economic development in rural areas and the Home Grown Homes project provides a great opportunity for us to lead the way to help build a skilled, resilient and sustainable county.”

Simon Inkson, Head of Housing for Powys County Council was a key note speaker at Woodbuild Wales 2017 conference and expo, where he formally launch the council’s policy which was adopted by Powys County Council’s Cabinet early this year. To view the policy visit www.powys.gov.uk/housing  

Newtown architect, Doug Hughes, who was a speaker at the conference and is a director of WoodKnowledge Wales, welcomed the policy.

“Using local, sustainable wood in construction projects is important not only from the perspective of the individual building project, but in terms of the wider benefits, such as sourcing the wood from local businesses which are growing timber within sustainable woodlands and thus supporting employment and investment in the local economy,” said Mr Hughes.

“Using sustainable, locally sourced materials means less transportation and the utilisation of key materials that we create and grow locally. As building designers and planning consultants, we understand the benefits of using such products and wherever possible work with clients to develop residential and commercial projects that utilise sustainable products, including locally sourced timber.”

Conference organisers Woodknowledge Wales, champion the development of wood-based industries and have provided support on this Powys project. The conference saw Housing associations, architects, designers, planners, saw millers, house builders, timber specialists, county councils and suppliers came together to exchange the latest in knowledge in timber-based housing solutions.

The Home Grown Homes Partnership brings together Powys County Council’s Housing and Regeneration Services, the Welsh Local Government Association, Community Housing Cymru, Natural Resources Wales along with local social housing providers Wales and West Housing Association, Grwp Cynefin, Mid-Wales Housing, Newydd Housing Group, Pobl Group, Pennaf Housing Group and Melin Homes.

This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Photo: Shayne Hembrow, Chair of Woodknowledge Wales and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Wales and West Housing, Tabitha Binding, Woodknowledge Wales, Simon Inkson, Head of Housing for Powys County Council and Jim McKirdle, Housing Policy Officer for the Welsh Local Government Association pictured at the Woodbuild Wales 2017 Conference and Expo

 


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