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Encouraging the Use of Welsh Timber in the Construction Industry

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A pioneering council-led project, designed to encourage greater use of Welsh timber in the construction industry, has reached the end of its first phase.

Home-Grown Homes was launched to identify and test interventions that could have a transformative impact on the Welsh timber construction supply chain and on the delivery of low carbon social housing in Wales.

The initiative, led by Powys County and funded by the Welsh Government and the EU Rural Development Programme, was launched in April 2018 and finished in December 2020.  The research project was delivered by Woodknowledge Wales with project partners Cardiff Metropolitan University, Coed Cymru and BM TRADA.

The cabinet have heard that the outputs of the pioneering project have influenced house builders, local authorities and housing associations, who are considering the use of materials in their construction projects.

During the project, housing associations such as Wales & West Housing have adopted policies making timber the first-choice material for their build programme, similar to the council’s own Wood Encouragement Policy.

The cabinet also heard that thanks to the project, the Welsh Government has in the specified timber within its draft Development Quality requirements for new social housing as a material of choice for delivering low-carbon, energy efficient homes.

Cllr Iain McIntosh, Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Economic Regeneration, said:

“During its lifespan, the project has enjoyed successful collaborations and has enabled the council to build on relationships with various Welsh Government departments including Housing, Forestry and Economy as well as organisations such as Natural Resources Wales, all of which have been represented on the project’s steering group.

“Our sponsorship of the Home-Grown Homes project shows our positive leadership role in reducing the carbon footprint of our affordable homes.  We remain the only council in Wales, and one of only a few in the UK, with a Wood Encouragement Policy.

“Phase two of the Home-Grown Homes project, which is currently being considered by the Welsh Government for funding, will aim to influence policy to advance the development of Welsh timber for products such as timber windows and wood fibre insulation.”