Press Release

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28/05/2012
Hackney puts wood first
Hackney Council is set to be the first local authority in England to promote timber construction in its planning policy.

Last week the Council hosted a Wood First conference for architects, developers and planning officials from other local authorities to encourage the consideration of timber as a first choice building material. Wood for Good, a campaign to promote the suitability and sustainability of using wood in construction, sponsored the event which examined the benefits and limitations of building with timber as well as explaining its place within local and national planning policy.

Hackney Council planners and representatives from Wood for Good spoke at the event alongside developers and architects, including Andrew Waugh from Waugh Thistleton Architects whose firm designed Stadthaus, the tallest timber residential building in Europe, which resides in the borough.

Although the Council is keen to promote the benefits of building with wood, it is not considering a policy that would exclude locally sourced building materials or prevent the use of other sustainable building materials in future developments. However, it will take into account the carbon footprint of a new development to ensure it is in line with its sustainability policy and the use of structural timber would help to contribute to this.

Councillor Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said: "Timber construction is changing the face of sustainable development, with the industry increasingly recognising the aesthetic and environmental benefits of using wood in new developments. We aren t looking to adopt a rigid policy which disregards the use of other traditional building materials, rather we will be seeking to inform industry leaders of the benefits of building with wood and how it can complement the national sustainability agenda."

Hackney Council received positive feedback from people attending the conference, with many asking to be involved in future events and policy consultations. Anyone wanting to have their say or find out more should contact: planning@hackney.gov.uk and include Wood First in the subject line.

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