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Wijma UK Limited wins place on £10m Environment Agency Framework

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Wijma UK has successfully secured a place on the Environment Agency’s first ever National Framework for the supply of Temperate and Tropical Hardwoods for use in Freshwater and Marine Civil Engineering Construction Projects, a potential £ 10 million framework programme.

The programme, covering supply of timber primarily for the waterways and flood defence, including  for use in lock gates, jetties, landing stages, fenders, decking, footbridges, groynes and planking, began in September 2012 and will last for four years.  This Framework will allow Wijma to build on its continuing success in the UK market for supplying FSC certified species like Ekki, Okan, Eveuss and Opepe from their own concessions in Cameroon, where they manage 315,087 hectares of FSC certified natural forest.

This framework has been created to foster a cohesive partnership between the Environment Agency, its framework contractors, engineering consultants, and timber suppliers with the goal of ensuring that there is continuous improvement in the quality of delivered projects and that value for money is maintained.  The framework will also be made available to Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, The Northern Ireland Environment Agency, The Welsh Assembly Government, and Forestry Commission.

Jas Bahi, who project-managed the procurement process for the Environment Agency, said:.

“The final two contractors have been selected based on their ability to meet the Environment Agency requirements on quality, price and the ability to supply timber according to the UK Government Timber Procurement Policy” he explained that “This will ensure that they are best placed to succeed in the challenge of delivering a diverse range of timber species, in varying sizes and lengths to suit each project specific requirement and timescales..”

The Environment Agency aim for this framework and future supplies is to specify its timber requirements in ‘fit-for-purpose’ terms rather than demanding a specific species of timber.  Traditionally and in practice this has regularly meant being heavily reliant on species such as Greenheart and Ekki, however the Environment Agency are now actively seeking to diversify and use more lesser known species of hardwood, particularly Angelim Vermelho, Cupiuba, Eveuss, Okan, and Tali.  These five lesser known species given a HS strength class and a further 13 species bench marked against Ekki and Greenheart are contained within the Environment Agency commissioned research report, and subsequent specifiers guide which is of interest to anyone who uses timber in marine and freshwater applications, particularly structural and civil engineers, design consultants, building contractors and asset managers.

Melanie Meaden who led the project for the Environment Agency said ‘We hope that this report will trigger a step-change in the way that people evaluate and select the most suitable hardwood timbers for use in construction applications, and particularly that demand increases for the lesser known species that were tested as part of this research project’ Sally Taylor who advices on sustainable procurement in the Environment Agency added ‘We assess the life cycle impacts associated with our procurement activities.  Timber is a renewable resource and an environmentally acceptable choice of construction material if obtained from a recycled source or well managed forests.  We carefully consider the need to use virgin tropical hardwood and it is used when it’s unique properties are determined as the best operational solution.   This framework will support sustainable forestry on a global scale, and help secure future supply’.

These Lesser Used Species have already been supplied by Wijma UK and are being used on Environment Agency coastal projects including at Pevensey and Sandown, Isle of Wight where FSC certified Eveuss timbers have been used.

Emma Lindsay, Senior Procurement Officer overseeing the delivery of the framework said “This contract will support the delivery of the Environment Agency’s Procurement Strategy, with the continuing emphasis on value for money”

Ad Wesselink, Managing Director of Wijma Kampen B.V. praised the UK staff and commented, “We shall continue to build on our proven success in the work we have undertaken in the United Kingdom and with the Environment Agency, to ensure continuity of supply, superior quality timber, FSC certified products that offer value for money and help to protect the environment.  Our award confirms the Royal Wijma groups position as one of the market leaders in environmental forestry management and supply of FSC certified hardwood timber and timber constructions”