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Wood boss issues Sonae closure warning

The closure of the UK’s largest recycler of waste wood could create substantial capacity issues for the industry, a senior figure has warned.

Peter Butt, executive director of the Wood Recyclers Association told MRW the closure of the Sonae wood panel factory in Knowsley, Merseyside would be “worrying news”.

Butt said: “If they were to shut, about 1,200 tonnes a day would be looking for a home, and it would be interesting to speculate what that might do to gate fees and prices.”

The Knowsley plant’s owner Sonae Indústria said in a statement last week that the company was set to begin consultations with employees’ representatives “regarding the future of its operations”.

The statement said: “220 people work at the Particle Board plant, which has been based at Knowsley Industrial Park for 12 years and has a production capacity of 500,000 cu m per annum.”

“There have been long delays to the reconstruction programme of the plant due to the difficulties in obtaining the necessary planning approvals, following the fire that occurred in June 2011. This coupled with the current economic climate and the downturn in the construction industry, have affected the viability of this plant. It is therefore necessary to reconsider future options.”

“It is Sonae Indústria’s intention to continue supplying the UK market.”

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