Report calls for government to focus on MMC to tackle housing crisis and climate change

L to R: David Hopkins, Timber Trade Federation; Peter Smith, Roderick James Architects; Professor Robert Hairstans, Edinburgh Napier University; Alex Goodfellow, Stewart Milne Group; Martin Whitfield MP, Timber Industries APPG; Hamish Macleod, BSW Credit: Confederation of Timber Industries

The use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) and the timber industries will be key in helping the government meet its housebuilding target, according to a report launched this week by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Timber Industries (APPG). The report also highlighted the positive environmental impact timber and MMC would have in delivering these homes.

The report calls for the government to unlock finance for manufacturers to better meet the increasing demand, and also for procurement contracts to be awarded to manufacturers based on their contribution to the public good.

MMC has long featured in the timber industry. Timber frames are built using offsite construction methods, and according to the APPG, are quicker, cheaper, quieter and more environmentally friendly than traditional construction methods.

In order to meet the skills requirement needed to build more homes this way, the report recommends that government should place an increased emphasis on construction apprentices and invest in developing construction courses, bringing together skills development with technological solutions.

The report argues that using timber in construction is key to meeting emissions targets, and urges the government to implement the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee by increasing the use of timber in construction.

Martin Whitfield MP, chair, APPG, said: “This report addresses an important dilemma governments have: increase housebuilding whilst reducing carbon emissions. The timber industry will provide skilled jobs, it can deliver sustainable and affordable homes and it should be at the forefront of addressing the climate emergency we face. 

“Housebuilding should be part of an environmental revolution that is firmly integrated into our net-zero emissions targets. Using timber will lock carbon within homes for generations and is considerably more environmentally friendly than other core building materials such as concrete.”

 Roy Wakeman OBE, chair of the Confederation of Timber Industries, said: “We know there is capacity in the industry which can be unlocked with the right policies, regulatory framework, and partnership between the public and private sectors.

“By bringing together experts from across the timber supply chain – all the way from the forest to the finished house – we will be able to make an even greater contribution.”

The report follows a UK-wide inquiry the APPG launched to explore how the timber industry can contribute towards solving the housing crisis.


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