A major restructuring programme has been launched by British Wool as a result of the extreme challenges that continue as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Andrew Hogley, acting CEO of British Wool, prices are severely depressed and the global market faces an over supply of cross-bred wool mainly from New Zealand and other European markets.

Furthermore, while British Wool had cleared the 11m kg of unsold wool they had at the end of April 2020, and more positive signs have been seen at recent auctions on some wool types, carpet wools remain under a great deal of pressure

“The contract carpet market which serves hotels, offices, cinemas, restaurants, airports, cruise ships, and the like, remains extremely depressed with the closure of the hospitality trade due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

As a result, British Wool is reducing the number of grading depots operated from 12 to eight. This will result in the closure of the depots in Irvine, Porthmadog, Stamford and Liskeard, with the wool from these areas relocated to other grading depots. This should save £1.5m per annum – and based on current wool intakes, equates to a saving of 6p to 7p per kg, Mr Hogley said.

“I want to stress that we will not be changing our service levels to producers. Where we close a grading depot we intend to replace this with a new intermediate depot in the nearby area. This will ensure producers still have a local drop point for their wool with no onward haulage charges.

“We will contact all affected producers ahead of next season to let them know where the new drop off points will be.

“We will also continue to take all types of wool from any producer. The sites we are closing are still open for producers to deliver this season’s wool and will remain so until the middle of February,” concluded Mr Hogley.