Supply & Demand

Pine logs at paper mill
© J. Jackson

  • In Britain we consume a huge amount of timber, paper, boards and other wood products annually. It adds up to around 50 million cubic metres - or 0.82m per head - or two large tree trunks each.
  • About 85% of this is imported at a cost of £8 billion annually - our fourth largest single import commodity - and equating to £1 million per hour in round terms.
  • The UK is one of the largest European markets for forest products.
  • Around 80% of the imports are softwoods i.e. conifers.
  • The demand for paper and board is forecast to rise by 75% by 2025 and the consumption of wood-based panel products by 65% over the same period.
  •  Current UK timber production is 9.3 million m and is forecast to rise by 65% over the next 20 years reaching a peak of around 16 million m in 2025.
  • Production will then decrease; this is due to the decline in planting in the early 1970s following the post-war peak.
  • Because of the relatively small percentage of land under forest, the UK is unlikely to exceed 25% self-sufficiency in timber and wood products.
  • More added value may be achieved through extended ranges of industrial products and by-products from more efficient conversion of timber and sawmill products, and the collection and use of recycled materials and recovered wood.
  • The scale and future growth of forest products consumption in the UK offers clear opportunities for the expansion of processing plants in a number of sectors, providing additional markets for UK timber in the future.

More: Timber facts and figures are at