BSW Timber’s sawmill in Newbridge-on-Wye, Powys, recently became the latest stop on the election trail when it hosted a visit from Prime Minister, David Cameron.
The company used the Prime Minister’s visit to announce BSW Timber’s formal licensing by the Government-backed Grown in Britain initiative, which promotes forests and forestry products manufactured in the UK.
BSW’s Newbridge site has benefited from more than £6 million investment over the past eight years, making it the largest single-site sawmill in Wales. Last year it was confirmed that the mill had agreed a major deal with Natural Resources Wales to guarantee the supply of locally-sourced Welsh larch over a 10-year period, allowing for future expansion.
Welcoming the visit of the Prime Minister, Mill Manager Dave Burd said: “This is a great opportunity to highlight the success of our operation here in Wales and the importance of supporting our supply chain — especially with the planting and supply of local timber.
“Having a guaranteed local log source will result in a major shift towards the supply of home-grown British products, which is the driving force behind our formal commitment to the Grown in Britain initiative. We have placed great emphasis in the last few years on working downstream with the UK construction sector to grow markets for UK timber, and we must now ensure that the business confidence of the sector is underpinned by continued investment in sustainably-managed productive woodland.”
He added: “This gives us the confidence to continue to invest in the mill, and increased capacity means more shifts and more jobs for the area — especially for apprenticeships. As a rural employer, BSW Timber has a critical role to play in maintaining local wealth and employment. And we have shown over the last decade that our operation at Newbridge-on-Wye is going from strength to strength, thanks to a rolling programme of continued investment in plant, people and environmental improvements.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Backing businesses to create more jobs is central to our long-term economic plan. It was great to visit BSW Timber’s sawmill in Newbridge-on-Wye to see first-hand how their increased investment is allowing the company to take on more staff — providing more people in the area with the security and stability of a regular pay packet.
“I particularly enjoyed speaking to some of BSW Timber’s apprentices who are benefitting from proper training and the prospect of a better future. This is why a future Conservative government is committed to opening up three million more high quality apprenticeships.”
Commenting on BSW Timber’s commitment to sourcing locally supplied timber, Grown in Britain Chief Executive, Dougal Driver, said: “The leadership shown by BSW to secure a Grown in Britain licence is fantastic news for the homegrown sector and gives us a terrific boost as we aim to create a sustainable future for our wonderful woods and forests.
“Buyers can now look for the Grown in Britain logo in depots and stores and back British business and enhance our woods and forests at the same time”
BSW Timber currently produces over 1,200,000 m3 of sawn timber each year, mainly for the UK’s construction, fencing and landscaping markets, and has recently developed export markets to Central Europe, North Africa and Asia. All timber is sourced from well managed and sustainable forests.