Biofuel Subsidy v Timber Prices Debate wages on

Peter Woodward, sales director at the Timber Door Company, has rejected claims that the furniture industry faces potential crisis over government subsidies paid to energy companies for the burning of wood-based biomass.

The furniture industry, in its campaign, The Burning Issue, is calling on the KBB sector to back its demands for an urgent government review of the situation, which has seen wood prices rise by 55% in the last five years.

Kitchens Kitchens covered this in our blog post here.

However, speaking at KBB Birmingham, Woodward said he believed that prices are “largely to do with uncontrollable variables such as disease”.

“The ash beetle in the US is infecting thousands of trees which push the price up,” he said. “In the industry we’re not allowed to cut down so much oak because there’s conservation now so prices have risen there. We have the demand but not the supply.”

Woodward claims government subsidies only account for “a small percentage” of the price rise. He explained that because there are few companies that supply ethanol in the UK, those companies hold a monopoly on the industry and can put their prices up as they choose. “No amount of campaigning will change these things,” he said.

But Andrew Ashworth, managing director of door specialist Apex Interior Systems insisted the biomass issue was having a significant impact on the industry. “A lot of timber is going to the biomass plants now rather than being chipped into chipboard and I believe that many forests can sell direct into those kind of plants and get more money than supplying it to the chipboard factories so that’s affected all the panel industry massively. We’ve all seen price hikes in board of 20 – 30% over the last 12 months which is a massive increase.”

This Kitchens Kitchens news item was sourced from KBB Review (