An aerial shot of the Newbridge sawmill.

BSW Timber agrees supply deal with NRW

Published:  05 June, 2014

BSW Timber has agreed a major 10-year log supply deal with Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

The company’s sawmill in Newbridge-on-Wye is to receive an additional 600,000m3 of larch log supply over a 10-year period, while resecuring over 700,000m3 of existing supply over the same time period. All logs will be sourced from local Welsh woodlands.

The guaranteed long-term log supply from NRW is set to have a significant impact on the Newbridge mill. BSW is currently developing detailed plans to increase overall capacity, flexibility and employment at the site, to be announced later in 2014.

Welcoming the supply deal, BSW Timber’s chief executive, Tony Hackney, said: “This long-term supply deal is a significant vote of confidence in BSW Timber and the Welsh timber industry.

“It allows us to plan for the future with a strong focus on market needs and requirements, enabling us in turn to invest with confidence in the development of our mill at Newbridge-on-Wye. Increased capacity will mean more shifts and more jobs for the area, and the 10-year supply guarantee will allow us to continue to invest in developing the site, reinforcing our pledge to maximise our supply and production of home-grown timber, also providing exciting new opportunities for the market.”

The planned investment in the Newbridge site builds on a sustained programme of investment in the sawmill over the last eight years. During that period, BSW has invested £6m in the mill and now employs 140 staff, making it the largest single site sawmill in Wales.

This investment has included a £2m installation of the UK’s largest biomass hot water boiler plant to benefit from the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

Mr Hackney continued: “As a rural employer, BSW Timber has a critical role to play in maintaining local wealth and employment. 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.

“This new supply deal and our plans for ongoing investment reinforce the importance of the forestry sector to both local and national economies, creating a positive knock-on effect throughout the supply chain.

“And thanks to our 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 repairs, maintenance and improvements sector. This increased usage is dependent on there being an appropriate level of woodland expansion across Wales to meet the future needs of our industry.”

Trefor Owen, director for national services for NRW, added: “This is good news for the timber industry in Wales and provides much needed stability for one of the largest companies in the Welsh timber industry.

“BSW will make a major contribution to dealing with the harvesting and marketing of larch in Wales, which we have to fell. We are also in the process of agreeing further contracts within Wales to ensure we maintain a reliable supply of timber to the industry.”

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