07 Aug 2022

Forestry Minister wants timber to play 'a big part' in Ireland's construction future

Forestry Minister wants timber to play 'a big part' in Ireland's construction future

Forestry Minister wants timber to play 'a big part' in Ireland's construction future

The Minister of State with responsibility for Forestry, Senator Pippa Hackett, wants to see timber play "a big part" in the future construction of Ireland's homes. 

The senator made the comments as she launched a series of statements by the National Council for Forest Research and Development (COFORD). 

She said, "There are clearly massive opportunities to significantly increase the quantity of timber used in houses and to consider building taller buildings using engineered wood products such as cross laminated timber." 

Calling on architects and builders to "think timber", she said, "We are planning major increases in house-building. I believe we need to make sure our timber industry plays a big part in it." 

The COFORD statements recommend an expansion in the use of wood in construction due to the "valuable carbon store" of long-lived wood products. 

The expansion of afforestation between 8,000 and 16,000ha per year - along with a significant reduction in agricultural emissions over the coming thirty years - was noted by COFORD as "necessary" for Ireland to approach carbon neutrality by mid-century. 

Deputy Francis Noel Duffy joined Senator Hackett in urging the forestry and construction industry to keep timber in mind. 

The deputy said, "We export massive amounts of timber, which is used in construction in other countries, but not here. That does not make sense, and as an architect myself I am very aware of the scope there is for us to build far more timber frame housing. I know it has not been our tradition but happily attitudes among construction professionals are changing. It is now time, I believe, for regulations to change and develop to enable the industry to more easily use timber." 

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