UK Timber praises ‘Woodland Hero’

19 February 2019 08:32 - BAM Construct UK Ltd
UK Timber praises ‘Woodland Hero’

Hemel Hempstead, 19 February 2019 -  The organisation campaigning to protect Britain’s forests has named John Cosford its Woodland Hero 2018.

Not-for-profit body Grown in Britain presented the award to the 54-year old – who works as a buyer for BAM Construction in the Midlands – at a ceremony on Friday 15 February. The company is behind scores of the UK’s most iconic buildings such as the Tate Gallery, and internationally is celebrating being 150 years old in 2019 by planting 150,000 trees during the year.

John was being recognised for his work promoting UK-grown wood for use in the building industry – something seen as vital in the campaign to protect this country’s forests.

Just 13 per cent of Britain’s land is wooded – well below the European average – and little more than half of this is properly managed, according to Grown in Britain.

A government-commissioned report recommended back in 2012 that ministers work with woodland owners and businesses to boost demand for British timber. This is designed to incentivise creation of more managed forests, bringing environmental, social and economic benefits.

John sits on a construction committee organised by Grown in Britain aiming to find ways of getting more home-grown timber on to construction sites in place of imports. He has also been working with clients and other contractors, and last year helped convince Arnold Laver to become the first timber merchant to sign up to use the Grown in Britain stamp on its domestic products.

John said: ‘I am extremely pleased to win this award, which recognises the importance of the work we are undertaking to educate different parts of the construction supply chain about the benefits and qualities of British timber. I am delighted that Arnold Laver is going to actively promote its UK timber, drawing attention to the huge advantages of helping maintain Britain’s forests. I am confident more merchants will follow suit and we will reach a tipping point where the Grown in Britain stamp stands for quality and environmental conscience in wood procurement.’

John said there was often an incorrect perception that imported timber was required for all construction jobs. ‘Because softwood grows more quickly here than in Norway, say, the rings can be further apart and it can be slightly less stiff as a product. A lower proportion of homegrown timber will be classified as top grade, or C24, which is what you need for structural joists, for example. But there are a multitude of other roles timber plays in the building process, like in stud walls and floorboards, and here British timber can be equally useful. That’s when buyers should be thinking of the sustainability benefits of fewer transport miles and promoting demand for managed forests in this country.’

Grown in Britain chief executive Dougal Driver said: ‘John is an amazing ambassador for Grown in Britain, supporting our work to boost the use of home-grown in construction from the very start of our journey in 2013. His engagement with timber suppliers has with has been determined and effective and we are hugely grateful to him and BAM for their support.’

Further information: Mark Slattery, Press and Media Manager, BAM Construct UK Ltd, 01442 238415.