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Tree loss warning

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Tree loss warning

A WARNING that the UK could run out of wood has come from one of the country’s top timber companies, with a base in Annandale.

Clifford Jones Timber is the UK’s largest manufacturer of timber fence posts, manufacturing over two and a half million a year at its two timber mills at Rigg, near Gretna, where it owns Hunter Wilson, and in North Wales.
But Penny Lloyd, purchasing director of the company which employs over 80 staff at the two plants, has warned that a failure to meet planting targets was turning the UK into a tree-free zone and threatening an industry worth over £450 million a year.
She said: “The forest industry is an essential part of the economy, and together with its ancillary businesses, sustains many rural communities.
“An ongoing programme of commercial timber planting is vital for the survival of our industry.”
She pointed out that over 40,000 acres of forestry has been lost in teh last 15 years and added: “That needs to be replaced if our timber industry is to survive.
“There seems to be an opposition to planting conifers but it makes sense in terms of the needs of both commercial forestry, and conservational and amenity woodlands.”
Clifford Jones Timber, which was founded in 1948, are proud of the fact that nothing from their purchase of over 100,000 tons of timber annually is wasted and that nothing leaves their premises without an invoice.
They use the wood, bark and all, to make not just fence posts but laminated timber for the construction and leisure industries, gates and dried logs and they provide the residue to make over 25,000 tons of pellets and briquettes.
Company chairman Richard Jones, pictured above, said: “Our business is very efficient, we maximise what we can recover from the timber we purchase, we don’t produce a ‘waste’ product, everything is utilised. Because of the shortage of home grown timber we have to make the most of everything we buy.
“We are constantly looking at ways of diversifying so that we get the maximum from the timber we bring in through the gates but that is in increasingly short supply because of lack of investment since the 1990s.
“There’s a huge market for our timber. Every sawmill would double or treble production if the timber was there to feed the mills.”
Fence posts from the two sites go as far afield as the Falkland Islands and other clients have included Center Parcs, a luxury treehouse builder, award-winning vineyards and a deck-chair company.

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