Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport for the Welsh government, has toured BSW Timber’s sawmill in Newbridge-on-Wye, Powys.

The Minister’s visit yesterday marked the latest phase of a multi-million investment programme for the mill. During the past five years, BSW has invested more than £6m in the site which has boosted annual timber production to 150,000m3 of sawn timber each year, mainly for the UK’s construction, fencing and landscaping market.

Welcoming the Minister, BSW’s head of public affairs Hamish Macleod said: “BSW’s investment and long-term commitment to our Newbridge site reinforces the importance of the forestry sector to both local and national economies.

“In the last few years, we have placed great emphasis on working downstream with the UK construction sector to grow markets for Welsh timber. And, thanks to our investment and improved efficiencies, we are now producing more home-grown timber here than ever before, leading to increased sustainable usage in expanding UK markets such as timber frame houses and the repair, maintenance and improvements sector.

“Forestry is a critically important industry for the Welsh economy, and we must now ensure that the business confidence of the sector is underpinned by continued investment in sustainably managed productive woodland. We look forward to working closely with National Resources Wales to ensure this continues to happen.”

Ms Hart said: “I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit BSW Timber’s Newbridge sawmill today, as their investment in Wales is exactly the type of support that our local economy requires. Not only is BSW Timber making a valuable contribution through its local investment and employment, but it also has a vital role to play in supporting a greener economy in Wales, managing sustainable forestry and producing low-carbon building materials.

“The Welsh government is committed to promoting the use of timber in construction which not only provides environmental benefits, but also offers social and economic opportunities for Wales.”