Environment Minister Supports 'Time for Timber' Initiative

Environment Minister Edwin Poots has announced his support for the 'Time for Timber' global wood manifesto, launched by Confor last year to coincide with COP26 in Glasgow.

During a visit to Balcas Timber, near Enniskillen, Minister Poots said: "I am pleased to visit Balcas to welcome and offer support to the global wood manifesto being promoted by Confor. This initiative calls on those involved in the use of harvested wood products to expand their markets to make much greater use of wood in the built environment.

"Supply of renewable timber from our local forests for commercial processing into high-quality and high-value building products generates significant economic activity in predominantly rural areas.

"Expanding this high-value market for locally-grown timber is an important element to underpin the forestry expansion programme here in Northern Ireland necessary to address our climate change challenges and deliver the wider biodiversity and health and well-being benefits that forests and woodlands provide."

Andy Leitch, Confor Deputy Chief Executive, who joined the Minister on the visit, said: "I'm delighted that the Minister and Northern Ireland have a strong focus on the value of trees and forests, not least because of the immense contribution wood products can make in the development of a low carbon economy.

"Trees and wood can play a vital role in mitigating climate change. Trees soak up carbon as they grow, wood products store carbon - and using more wood can substitute carbon-heavy materials like concrete and steel.

"Therefore, to use even more wood, we need to grow more trees - and I welcome Northern Ireland's ambitions to increase its woodland cover and integrate tree planting as part of agricultural and rural activity."

Brian Murphy, CEO of Balcas Ltd, said: "Balcas believes that sustainably-managed forests are critical for our future. We were delighted to host the Minister here today and show him how we utilise timber and wood fibre within our sustainable business. In addition to manufacturing timber products for the building sector, Balcas uses the residuals from its timber manufacture to generate all its own electricity (11MWh), exporting its surplus to the grid. Heat left over from generation is captured to make carbon neutral wood pellet fuel. Balcas is the UK's largest wood pellet manufacturer and Balcas's pellets have displaced the oil equivalent of more than three super tankers over the past decade and a half.

"Balcas' activity aligns with mitigating climate change. It provides significant employment rooted in rural communities - supporting livelihoods and stimulating spending in many businesses in and around Enniskillen and Invergordon."

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 June 2022
Other News In Brief
SDLP Welcomes Extension Of Union Street Pedestrianisation The SDLP has welcomed the news that the pedestrianisation of Union Street in Belfast city centre is to be extended. The current scheme will be extended for six months from June 11, then a decision will be taken on whether to make the scheme permanent.
25 November 2020
Up To Three Households Allowed To Mix Over Christmas
Up to three households could be allowed to mix over the Christmas period, under a set of temporary arrangements to be agreed by the Executive. First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill have signalled temporary arrangements that will be put in place between 23 and 27 December.
01 August 2011
Wood Pellet Firm Wins EU Certification
Wood pellets, manufactured by a leading Northern Ireland manufacturer, Balcas in Co Fermanagh, are the first in Ireland to receive certification under ENplus, the new standard for premium quality wood pellets across Europe.
09 June 2022
Wrightbus Works Towards Delivering Zero-Emission Buses
Infrastructure Minister John O'Dowd has visited Wrightbus to see first had the efforts the factory is making towards delivering zero-emission buses. Following investment from the Department, Translink has placed orders for 332 buses from Wrightbus over the past three years, of which 158 are already in service.
13 January 2020
Minister Swann To Meet Health Unions
Stormont's new health minister Robin Swann is to meet trade unions over the ongoing strike action. Ulster Unionist minister Robin Swann has pledged to solve the pay dispute "right away". Nurses and healthcare workers have been engaged in industrial action over staffing shortages and a lack of pay parity in recent weeks.