Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Pippa Hackett, is set to establish a new working group that will focus on exploring the potential for increased use of home-grown timber in the Irish construction sector. The group will consist of representatives from various bodies, universities, industry experts, and professionals interested in participating.
The primary objective of the working group will be to examine the conditions necessary to promote the use of timber in construction, assess the regulatory and standardisation challenges hindering its adoption, and maximize the utilization of home-grown timber. Minister Hackett emphasized the importance of collaboration between professionals, relevant government departments, and state agencies in order to achieve these goals.
The working group will bring together a wide range of industry expertise, as well as representatives from relevant government departments and agencies. An independent chair will be appointed, and the DAFM will provide secretariat support once the group’s membership is finalized.
Minister Hackett highlighted the increasing use of timber as a reliable and sustainable material in the construction of large-scale buildings across Europe. The working group aims to identify and address the barriers preventing the widespread use of timber in the Irish construction sector. By doing so, they hope to facilitate its greater adoption in line with sustainable construction practices.
Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications, and Transport, Eamon Ryan, confirmed that his department will also be involved in the working group. He emphasized the need to thoroughly investigate the potential role of products such as cross-laminated timber as alternatives to resource-intensive materials like concrete and steel. Increasing the availability of alternative construction materials is crucial for meeting climate targets while addressing pressing construction needs.
The working group will also include representatives from the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage. Minister Darragh O’Brien expressed his department’s active participation in the group and highlighted the importance of timber in modern construction methods. Utilizing timber not only improves the delivery of new housing but also contributes to the sustainability of materials used.
In conclusion, the establishment of this new working group signifies the Irish government’s commitment to exploring the potential of home-grown timber in the construction sector. By addressing regulatory challenges and promoting sustainable practices, the group aims to increase the use of timber and contribute to Ireland’s climate action targets. The collaboration between professionals, government departments, and agencies will play a vital role in achieving these objectives.