Visit marks completion of £7 million investment in improved production and biomass boiler.
Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, visited BSW Timber’s Dalbeattie sawmill on the 23rd April to mark the completion of a £7 million investment programme for the UK’s largest single site sawmill.
BSW’s investment has seen the Dalbeattie site increase annual production to more than 350,000 cubic metres, creating 20 new jobs in the process. The site now uses the latest in planer and grader line technology, employing around 150 staff.
The Minister was accompanied by Alex Fergusson, MSP for Dumfries and Galloway for a tour of the Dalbeattie site, followed by discussions with BSW’s Chairman Martin Gale and Director of Public Affairs, Hamish Macleod.
Welcoming the visit, BSW’s Chairman, Martin Gale said: “The Minister’s visit is the culmination of a sustained programme of investment by BSW in the Dalbeattie mill. This demonstrates a genuine commitment to improving our use of sustainable and renewable energy, coupled with our desire to maximise efficiencies on site by introducing the latest in production technology.
“Our investment reinforces the importance of the forestry sector to both local and national economies, creating a positive knock-on effect throughout the supply chain. Thanks to our improved efficiencies, we are now producing more home-grown timber here than ever before, leading to increased sustainable usage in expanding UK markets such as timber frame houses and the repairs, maintenance and improvements sector.
“One of the points that we clearly made to the Minister was that this increased usage is dependent on there being an appropriate level of woodland expansion across Scotland, to meet the future needs of our industry.
“Today’s visit was also about celebrating our commitment to improved renewable energy sources – especially in the light of the continued expansion of large-scale biomass electricity power plants, which remains a real threat to the success of our business across the UK.”
Fergus Ewing added: “It is pleasing to see that BSW Timber Group is committed to investing in not only the plant and equipment to maintain their position in the timber sector but also in product and brand development fit for a competitive market.
“This is an important sector for the Scottish economy and we must ensure that the business confidence of the sector is underpinned by continued investment in sustainably managed productive woodland.
“The Scottish Government is also aware of the challenges and opportunities the sector faces from a burgeoning biomass-based energy market and will be considering impacts on this sector as part of its overall review of support under the Renewables Obligation (Scotland).”
BSW Timber successfully acquired the Dalbeattie site in November 2009, and the subsequent investment programme has increased annual productivity from 230,000 cubic metres of sawn timber to more than 350,000m³. This included the installation of a new planer and grader line which will almost double production of Easi-Edge construction timber from 65,000m³ to 120,000m³ each year.
Manufacture of this added-value timber product is further increased by investment in a new stacker system to improve operational efficiencies and produce an additional 50,000m³ of Easi-Edge volume.
The Dalbeattie site is also benefiting from investment in a new heat source facility for the operation and kilns. The biomass boiler uses the site’s natural timber by-products to produce enough heat energy to sustainably supply the increased demand on the site.
25th April 2012