Biomass Campaign Comes to Downing Street
Leading furniture industry representatives have today gone to 10 Downing Street to present a petition to the Prime Minister over their concerns about the impact of biomass subsidies on wood prices. This represents the latest phase in a campaign being co-ordinated by FIRA and the British Furniture Confederation (BFC).
Many of the industry’s top company executives have put their names to the petition that highlights the extraordinary increase in the cost of wood, its prime raw material, as a consequence of woody biomass subsidies paid to energy producers.
Stephen McPartland MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Industry Group, who took BFC representatives to 10 Downing Street said: “The industry supports well over 100,000 jobs and is a sector full of industrious small enterprises employing highly skilled staff. Current woody biomass subsidies are a significant cause of rising wood prices which are damaging British furniture businesses.”
DECC’s subsidies encourage energy companies to burn wood which is creating an unsustainable bubble in the timber market. Prices are rocketing and demand is growing so fast that the forestry sector has no chance to ever get near to meeting it. Energy producers are simply out-paying manufacturers and this will lead to the collapse of the mainstream British furniture manufacturing base, unless the subsidies are significantly reduced or removed, especially for the burning of newly grown trees.
The furniture industry, which generates £7.3 billion of GDP (almost 3 per cent of Britain’s manufacturing output), is calling for the Government to call a halt to these subsidies now and seeks a comprehensive review as to their impact on industry sectors such as furniture.
“We are not look for any advantage ourselves – only a level playing field for all those in the market wanting to create value, whether products or energy, from wood,” said British Furniture Confederation chairman Paul von der Heyde. “At the moment there is an imbalance with the subsidy granted to the power generation industry.”
1. In addition to the letters from leading furniture executives, the BFC is running an e-petition, accessible at http://www.biomass-petition.org/, whereby individuals can register their concerns about the impacts of burning of woody biomass.
2. Picture shows the following industry representatives standing outside of 10 Downing Street;
Back row left to right -
Jonny Westbrooke. WCFM
Paul von der Heyde. British Furniture Confederation, Chairman
Dr Peter Beele. FIRA
Front row left to right -
Jessica Alexander. NBF
Stephen McPartland. MP
Mike Dimond. BFM
Further images are available on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42829053@N03/sets/72157629847579402/
About the BFC (British Furniture Confederation)
The BFC was established to bring together furniture industry trade associations and membership bodies with the principle aim of engaging with government at all levels regarding matters of concern within the furniture, bed and furnishing industry. Its members include: the British Contract Furnishing Association (BCFA), the National Bed Federation (NBF), the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA), the Association for British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM), The Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association (LOFA), the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF), the flexible foam group of the British Plastics Federation (BPF), Proskills and Anti-Copying In Design (ACID). The BFC employs the services of political consultants Brevia to advise it on government activity, facilitate lobbying and to provide the secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Group, chaired by Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland.
For further information on BFC please visit www.britishfurnitureconfederation.org.uk
Paul HS von der Heyde
Dr Peter Beele
Mobile: 07768 168928
Signatories to the letters
Mr Paul von der Heyde Chairman British Furniture Confederation
Dr Peter Beele Technical Manager Furniture Industry Research Association
Mr Brian Ahern Chairman British Furniture Manufacturers Association
Ms Jessica Alexander Executive Director National Bed Federation
Mr Colin Watson Managing Director British Contract Furnishing Association
Mr Richard Ranklin Manager Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers
Mr Jonny Westbrooke Clerk Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers
Mr Phil Gibbs Secretary Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association
Mr Glyn Rodney Managing Director