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Cross Channel Partnership to improve Surrey’s Woodlands

Logo-LWH-couleur-coloursmlDelegates from Central Brittany in France visited the Surrey Hills last week on a tour to show how conifer woodlands are managed in the UK not only for timber but also for amenity and conservation.

The two day tour showcased some of the larger private estates set within the rolling Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the delegates met with those involved in the management of Surrey’s woodlands. There was also a visit to LCEnergy based in Albury, one of the UK’s leading specialists in sustainable wood fuel supply and complete biomass systems. On the final day the group visited the Forestry Commission estate of Alice Holt.

The visit forms part of a £55K INTERREG grant to provide cooperation between timber growers and users in West Central Brittany and those within Surrey. The project is being co-ordinated by Surrey Hills Enterprises, a Community Interest Company that helps to support the management and enhancement of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Known as the Local Wood Hub Project with the aim to stimulate and increase the development of local forest and wood industries and seek to increase the value of local woods and their by-products in an effective supply chain.

Carrie White, Surrey Hills Enterprises, Development Manager and Project Co-ordinator comments;

“Surrey Hills Enterprises are delighted to be working in partnership with the delegates of West Central Brittany. We hope to be able to share best practice and improve knowledge and skills of active organisations in the forest-wood industry on both sides of the Channel.”

Nearly 25% of the South East is wooded and there is a serious mismatch between use of wood products, and the raw material supply coming from the woodlands in the region. The area is dependent on imported wood.

The wood-forest industry faces numerous environmental, social and economic challenges. The review is the same in Central Brittany where the local forest resource is barely valued because of weaknesses in the sector. Therefore, there are common issues in both territories.

Sean Harrison, Surrey Hills Woodland Adviser comments;

“The Local Wood Hub project aims to stimulate and increase the sustainable development of local wood industries to increase the value of local wood and their by-products in an effective supply chain.”

For further information on the project email carrie.white@surreyhillsenterprises.co.uk