Future opportunities for British timber

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Timber has been used in Britain for thousands of years as a building material and it is increasingly important as the challenges of low carbon building develop further.

Harvested timber is feedstock for a number of industries, with the majority going into sawmills. The remainder is used in panel board, pulp/paper, fencing, biomass and other products.

This research summary - a collaborative effort funded by the Forestry Commission and carried out by a number of different partners including TRADA Technology Ltd - was split into three sections which aim to:

  • Analyse and make recommendations of the most effective ways to add value to home grown timber used in construction.
  • Conduct a study into the main timber species grown in the UK and identify further research required to fully understand the properties of our main timber species.
  • Develop a consistent methodology for calculating the life cycle analysis of wood and timber products that is both cost effective and can be universally applied with minimal training.


  • Rationale
  • Research summary
  • FC1 and FC3 (Adding value and UK timber species) Overview
  • Existing market and trends in construction products
  • Options for adding value and best utilisation for timber species
  • Product propositions
  • Carbon storage and embodied carbon in construction products
  • Profit assessments
  • End of life scenarios
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Conclusions and recommendations
  • Opportunities for best utilisation of species were found to be:
  • FC1 recommendations:
  • FC3 recommendations:
  • FC2 - Development of methodology for carbon footprinting for British timber
  • Challenges faced by previous approaches to GHG emissions assessment
  • Expected future developments

Suggested Reading

Innovation and sustainability. Wood products for architectsnavigation-arrow

Recent advances in timber technology and engineering have expanded the potential of building with wood. The development of new products and component manufacturing has allowed the construction of longer spans, the erection of multi-storey timber frame buildings, the forming of compound curved surfaces, the volumetric prefabrication and modular systems and...

01/01/2004 |  Info from other organisation  

Wood - decorative and practicalnavigation-arrow

An overview of the considerations you should take into account when selecting and specifying a timber species for use in the UK. It includes colour photographs of a core selection of 50 timbers which are generally available or are commonly used in the UK, along with information on their suitability...

08/12/2014 |  Wood Information Sheet  

List of Wood Information Sheetsnavigation-arrow

This document contains a fully comprehensive list of all the most up to date Wood Information Sheets (WIS) published by TRADA. Available to members for free or non-members for £12.00, these Wood Information Sheets provide technical guidance related to almost every timber topic under the sun.



  • Timber -...

17/07/2017 |  Wood Information Sheet