The Wood Panels Industry Federation (WPIF) has recruited a new set of parliamentary champions for the industry, with the establishment of a fresh All Party Parliamentary Group, led by Scottish National Party MP, Steven Paterson.

At the inaugural meeting, the MPs heard from Karl Morris, chief executive officer of Norbord Europe, on the challenges faced by the wood panel manufacturing industry as a result of government subsidy to the wood burning renewable energy sector.

Alastair Kerr, director general of the WPIF, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to form a group of MPs which are keen to help the wood panel industry in the UK prosper. We do have concerns about the future availability of domestically-sourced wood and the impact on prices, which are being driven higher by increasing demand by the subsidised wood burning renewable energy sector. It is great that we now have a group of MPs willing to take this argument to the heart of government.”

Mr Morris added: “The biomass issue is crucially important to resolve for our industry. It is vitally important that we engage government in the levelling of the playing field with regards to the iniquitous subsidies that are distorting the supply and demand of wood in the UK. The whole premise that woody biomass should be classed as a renewable resource for energy is flawed and somehow we need to ensure that our voice is heard.”

The new Wood Panels Industry All Party Group has cross party support with officers from the three main parties. The Conservatives are represented by John Stevenson MP, Labour is represented by Susan Elan Jones MP, while the Scottish National Party is represented by both Steven Paterson MP and Alan Brown MP.