Timber producers are calling for an overhaul of licensing to encourage the use of indigenous building materials as global prices soar due to the war in Ukraine.
Orest Industries Ireland, the Ibec group that represents Irish producers, said planting more trees could help increase Ireland’s housing stock while helping farmers offset carbon emissions.
The group is calling for the “abolition” of tree planting licenses and changes to the building energy rating system (BER) to boost timber production and make it more attractive to the construction industry. Forest Industries Ireland director Mark McAuley said in a webinar last week that Ireland is lagging behind other countries in the use of wood in housing.
“With wood, you have a building material that stores carbon instead of emitting it,” he said.
“Carbon is trapped in the fabric of the building. It’s a virtuous cycle.”
Irish timber prices rose 64.4 percent year-on-year in February before Russia invaded Ukraine. After China, the USA and Canada, Russia is one of the leading wood producers in the world.
The Construction Industry Confederation has warned that “hyperinflation” in building materials such as steel and timber could mean builders divest themselves of public projects such as the 165 billion.
The Department of Agriculture plans to more than double afforestation licenses this year, from just over 500 last year to 1,040.
Climate Change Advisory Council member John FitzGerald told the webinar – organized by Ibec and the Royal Institute of Architects – that a “significant increase” in tree planting over the next 30 years could help remove up to 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
At current carbon prices, that could be worth more than €25 billion to the Irish economy, he said.
“The economic value of this investment and its positive environmental impact would be greatly enhanced if we switched to timber frame construction,” he said.
“Investing in forestry is one of the ways we can both make the people of Ireland better off and achieve a large reduction in Ireland’s net greenhouse gas emissions.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/timber-producers-call-for-more-tree-planting-to-boost-construction-sector-41562099.html Timber producers are calling for more tree planting to boost the construction sector