- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Joyce Watson AM last week (2 September) visited an award-winning mid Wales timber business to learn more about the forestry sector.
Esgair Timber Company Ltd, located a few miles north of Machynlleth, produces a range of timber products, harvested from and milled at its 500-acre coniferous and deciduous woodland site.
Mrs Watson is a member of the Welsh Assembly’s business and environment committees. She said forestry is a major contributor to the rural economy:
“When it comes to timber businesses it can be a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ as they tends to be in remote places. Forestry is a key industry, though – a big rural employer with wider links to recreation, biodiversity, water management and alike.”
The Labour Mid and West Wales AM’s visit was organised by Confor, a membership organisation that promotes sustainable forestry and low-carbon businesses.
Martin Bishop, Confor manager for Wales, said:
“We were delighted to show Joyce a snapshot of the forest industry in Wales.
“Esgair Timber is great example of forestry management and wood processing all contained on one site. The products from the forest satisfy the most stringent aspects of a truly sustainable timber production system, aiming to exceed FSC standards.”
Mrs Watson was given a tour of the business by owner Peter Bottoms. She was shown the sawmill, constructed from Esgair forest timber, which now processes sawn materials for the local construction and timber framing markets.
Joyce Watson AM added:
“I am very grateful to Peter and Martin for taking the time to show me around the site.
“Sustainable forest management is about striking a balance between commerce and conservation. As a country, we need to manage and cultivate new and established forests, but we also need to support our thriving timber industry.
“I look forward to sharing my observations with Assembly colleagues.”
In 2013 Esgair Timber was awarded 3rd place in the Royal Welsh Show ‘Woods for Wales’ competition for best commercial diversification, including milling 50% or more of its own timber.