Wood Encouragement Policies (WEP)

Planet Ark's Make It Wood Supports and Promotes WEP in Australia

Western Australia has joined Tasmania as Australian state governments that have adopted a state-wide Wood Encouragement Policy (WEP). In addition, there are two local government authorities and eighteen local councils that have also adopted a WEP, and Rotorua Lakes Council has done some ground-breaking work in New Zealand. The adoption of similar policies around the world is growing steadily, including Canada, Japan, France, Finland, Netherlands and the UK, who are all encouraging the use of natural, timber-based products in construction. 

What is a WEP?

A WEP generally requires responsibly sourced wood to be considered, where feasible, as the primary construction material in all new-build and refurbishment projects. As such is it not intended to be a draconian, all-encompassing dictum, but rather seeks to ensure that wood is at least considered as the primary structural component in these buildings.

Why Governments and Councils Should Adopt a WEP

Timber is the only major building material that helps tackle climate change.  It is both a naturally renewable and abundant resource. As trees grow they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, known as carbon sequestration. When the tree is responsibly harvested the carbon is locked in the wood and remains there for the life of any products made with that timber. About half of the dry weight of timber is carbon.

In addition, the production and processing of wood uses much less energy – known as embodied energy – than most other building materials, giving wood products a significantly lower carbon footprint. As a result wood can be used as a low-emission substitute for materials that require larger amounts of fossil fuels to be produced. As a rule of thumb, if you convert one cubic metre of concrete for a cubic metre of timber, you will eliminate approximately one metric tonne (1000kg) of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere.

More Information?

For more information please contact David Rowlinson, Make It Wood Campaign Manager, at david@planetark.org or 0400 474 412.

Watch a short video introducing WEPs

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