Egger has invested £250 million into its operations in Auchinleck and Hexham to ensure that the company is ‘at the heart of wood-based materials production within Europe’.
Due to this ambition, David Rutley MP, Minister for Food and Animal Welfare, with the responsibility for forestry policy in England with the UK, visited the manufacturing site, , and Government’s Tree Champion, Sir William Worsley on 19 July.
Forestry Minister David Rutley MP said: “There is no doubt that forestry is a vital industry in Northumberland, and my visit to Egger’s impressive Hexham plant only confirmed this.
“I believe passionately that tree planting must be at the heart of our plans as a government. I look forward to continuing discussions with Egger and other stakeholders in the forestry sector on how we can work together in partnership to achieve our ambitious goals.”
Egger employs more than 800 people over its two plants and delivers the equivalent of 27,500 lorry trailers of wood-based materials each year.
John Paterson, Director, EGGER Forestry, said: “We were delighted to have the Minister visit our plant where we were able to show him the manufacturing process and range of panel-based products produced in Hexham. Northumberland is a fantastic location for afforestation, and we look forward to furthering discussion on the future of large-scale planting opportunities. EGGER makes a considerable contribution to both the local and national economy, and as a company, we are encouraged by the initial steps taken recently in terms of woodland creation targets which will be a key component for promoting confidence for this domestic industry in the years ahead.”
Alastair Kerr, Director General of the Wood Panel Industries Federation (WPIF) added: “We were pleased to continue the constructive conversation with the Minister on the challenges facing our industry as a whole. The principal issue facing the sector is wood security and constraint upon long-term supply limits its growth potential. Future forestry policy needs to detail key planting targets for the next twenty years, which will prove a crucial time for the wood panel industry.
We look forward to furthering discussion on this and energy policy to secure the long-term future of this critical domestic industry.”
Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham said: “It was fantastic to have David Rutley MP, the DEFRA Minister, visit Egger in Hexham. It was an incredibly productive meeting with representatives from across the Forestry sector. He will have left the event in no doubt that we want more forestry in Northumberland, which will not only result in more forestry sector jobs but will also build us a better environment.”
This is the second UK Government Minister to visit EGGER’s Hexham plant this year, with the Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Rt Hon Claire Perry MP visiting in March 2019. These visits followed the publication of the APPG for the Wood Panel Industry’s Expert Working Group Report.
Pictured: Left to right: Simon Hart, EGGER forestry business development manager; John Paterson, director of EGGER Forestry; Guy Opperman MP for Hexham; Tobias Zimmermann, plant director, technical/ production, EGGER UK; David Rutley MP, Minister for ood and Animal Welfare; Alastair Kerr, director general, Wood Panel Industries Federation