A MERGER has been proposed between the UK's top trade associations in the forestry and forest products sectors, the Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) and the UK Forest Products Association (UKFPA).

“This is an exciting time for the forestry and wood processing industry,” said Confor chair Athole McKillop. “We have so many challenges facing us, from Brexit to plant health, to securing future wood supply, it’s vital that we make best use of the sector’s resources to promote our interests and to provide technical advice and services to businesses in the industry.”

Echoing that sentiment, UKFPA vice-presidents Gavin Davidson and Rod Gordon said: “In view of the challenges and opportunities facing our sector, we believe that the time is right to bring together the two trade associations, to provide a stronger and more effective voice for our industry, whilst at the same time maintaining focus on the needs of our respective members and the cost-effective delivery of services to them. This is an ideal opportunity to build on the acknowledged strengths of the two highly-regarded organisations, for the benefit of members.”

Following positive discussions between senior representatives of both bodies, the aim is to launch the merged organisation in January 2019.

Looking forward to that, Confor chief executive Stuart Goodall and UKFPA executive director David Sulman said: “There is a lot more we can do for member businesses and this merger will help us deliver greater services and do more to promote their interests to politicians and in the media.”