For many of our clients in Ireland, timber supply has been a real challenge over recent years, with no signs of improvement on the horizon. A significant backlog in the approval of forestry felling licences (as a result of the changes made to internal Appropriate Assessment Procedures [AAP]) is having a massive impact, with licenses taking up to a year to process.

Farmers are legally required to apply to the Forest Service for a felling license before they can fell a tree in their plantation, so this delay is leading to a real shortage of supply of timber – and increased prices. It is also affecting businesses, which are losing income and may ultimately result in job losses. 

Thousands of planting and felling applications remain stuck in the planning system and it has been suggested that just 25% of this year’s national planting target will be reached. As a consequence of this issue, many Irish-based businesses are having to look further afield for timber supplies.

For Irish clients looking to the UK or into mainland Europe for timber, one thing to consider which can increase sourcing options, is looking at more than one chain of custody scheme. While FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is the biggest chain of custody scheme in the UK, PEFC (the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) is the world’s largest source of certified, sustainably managed forests, and targets national certification, which can open new avenues of supply.

PEFC certifies 750,000 forest owners and over 300 million hectares, with 55 countries around the world nationally certified, including the UK, Germany and Sweden. This accounts for 60% of the world’s forests, so if clients have PEFC certification as well as FSC certification, there is a real opportunity for improved supply.

By maintaining a certified chain of custody system, businesses also provide reassurance that their timber products are sourced and produced in compliance with a globally recognized ecological, social and economic standard.

BM TRADA has a wealth of experience at providing certification services to a range of customers. To talk to a certification expert contact us. You can also click here for information on our training services and here to access the Bookshop where a list of certification standards and guidebooks can be found.