A TYNEDALE harvesting forester has provided an insight into maintaining production of a vital timber supply during lockdown.

Alistair Burton, from Haydon Bridge, is in charge of ensuring the production and supply of timber to sawmills across the north of England and south of Scotland.

"I manage the Forestry England fleet team who operate heavy machines used in forestry works, primarily harvesters and forwarders," he said.

"Harvesters cut the trunk from the tree and chop it up into lengths of timber, then forwarders carry the timber to stack on the roadside.

"On-site I check the right specifications of timber are being cut to ensure that a range of different products are being delivered to their specific markets."

Forestry England supply nearly half of all homegrown timber in England, and counts the Egger factory in Hexham as a significant customer.

Alistair explained: "In terms of dealing with Covid-19 on-site, my team are in a fortunate situation regarding social distancing rules.

"The nature of their roles means they naturally spend a lot of time well away from other people and we have a lone worker protection system in place.

"Gratefully, I work with a fantastic team who make my job very straightforward.

"I’m proud of the fact that my role is, in a small way, helping to keep the timber industry going.

"Vital products like pallets, cardboard packaging, and the production of energy are all essential at this time.

"One of our customers, Egger, was involved in the supply of chipboard for the new Nightingale hospitals throughout the UK - a further indication of the importance the timber industry can play, especially in a time of national crisis.

"With sustainable forest management, we can continue providing timber for the future."