What is the event? It is the European Wood Action Days, which are to be held in the European Parliament in Brussels on September 22-24. The purpose of these action days is to put our industry’s case before the newly elected Members of the European Parliament as they arrive to take up their posts for the new term.

A display inside the ‘Woodbox’, a shipping container fitted out for the purpose by the Austrian wood products association, will take place immediately outside the Parliament building. Inside, a series of networking breakfasts and lunches, and a number of expert presentations, will put forward the industry’s case in terms of the benefits of wood and wood products and the short-sightedness of burning wood for energy. If you are able to attend, or assist with, this event, the organisers would be very pleased to hear from you.

For those people whose livelihoods depend on the wood products chain but are unable to attend, the concept is surely one that is transportable to every corner of the globe where the wood products industry is under threat from government-led subsidising of biomass energy.

Meanwhile, the Belgian trade association, Fedustria, has been busy too, fighting off electricity generating projects which would consume its wood supply.

Fedustria employed the services of a public relations company, Magenta, which came up with a solution for the small budget that it had by advocating ‘Guerilla action’. A wooden ‘toilet hut’ was made and placed in the square between the Flemish prime minister’s offices and those of the energy department. The message? Basically that burning wood is like flushing money down the toilet. The campaign, together with a lot of lobbying activity by Fedustria, attracted a lot of media attention and that’s what is required.

The good news is that on the 5th May this year, the Flemish government said it would no longer subsidise biomass energy plants above 20MW.

Maybe your country’s federation could learn from Fedustria’s pro-active approach and come up with a novel way to gain attention for the fight against those who would ‘steal’ your wood supply in the name of ‘green energy’?

Changing the subject, I am very happy to announce the arrival of a new member of staff at Wood Based Panels International.

Stephen Powney has joined Derek Steel and myself, as Editor Designate on WBPI, with effect from June. Stephen will become increasingly involved in the editorial side of the magazine and I hope you will have the opportunity to meet him soon.

Steve has worked for sister magazine TTJ for some years, so he comes with a lot of knowledge of the industry and will certainly be a valuable addition to our small team.