Alan Hampson, Scottish Forestry – Supplementary written evidence (NSD0052)
Evidence from Alan Hampson, Head of Policy and Practice, Scottish Forestry, following his evidence session on Tuesday, 2 November 2021.
I also offered to unpack the issues of skills as a potential limiting factor on woodland expansion. Though this did not come up in subsequent questioning the Committee might like to be aware of the following:
- The Institute of Chartered Foresters has recently published a position paper highlighting the challenges and potential solutions.
Questioning on the role of commercial forestry in sequestering carbon focused on the initial locking up of carbon, and just to add to that in terms of the role that timber plays as a low-carbon building material I would add the following points.
- Timber is a highly versatile low-carbon material.
- In 2020 there were 7.8 million m3 of softwood timber felled in Scotland, and 81,500 m3 of hardwoods.
- Scotland produces around 2/3 of softwood timber produced in the UK.
- At a Scottish level approximately 1/3 of the timber produced (by volume) ends up in construction which is a long term carbon store. Some wood fibre is also used as fuel, acting as a renewable substitute for fossil fuels.
- Domestically produced wood products substitute for wood products harvested elsewhere in the world, including from natural forests – the UK currently imports around 80% of its timber requirements.
- In Scotland 83% of new build houses are timber-framed (which on average use 4.6 tonnes more wood than conventional brick and block) whereas in England the proportion is 23%.
- A typical 3 bedroom timber frame house uses 11.9 tonnes of wood fibre, but designs maximising wood would could use 16.2 tonnes, displacing 4.3 tonnes of less carbon friendly material per house.
- If the annual UK Government target of some 300,000 houses were achieved using timber framed designs maximising wood use this would equate to a reduction of up to 1.8 million tonnes CO2e per annum at current building levels.
12 November 2021