Eastbourne Borough Council has been awarded a grant of £200k from the Forestry Commission to explore using local timber to create commercial products for the housing retrofit market.
The council successfully applied to the commission's Woods into Management Forestry Innovation Funds which supports innovative projects to encourage bringing more woods across the country into active management. Nationally, around 41% of woodlands are not actively managed and this can impact on biodiversity.
Councillor Colin Swansborough, Cabinet member for Place Services, Climate Change, Heritage Assets and Special Projects, said: “This exciting project perfectly combines our management of the downland and woodlands around Eastbourne with our commitment to delivering zero carbon homes by 2030.
“Up until now English timber has been prohibitive to use as a housing material due to cost. With this grant, we will be working with our partners over the next 16 months to examine whether competitive products can be made from local timber.
“If successful, this project could act as a catalyst for investment, making English timber a mainstream product for both the social and private sector and demonstrate how practical action can impact climate change.”
The core project team comprises the council, Woodland Enterprise Centre and University of Brighton, which is responsible for monitoring and managing the project. The wider working group also includes woodland management experts and local sawmills.
November 22, 2022