Meet the Cheltenham timber company doing its bit for the environment

With so many timber products on the market, when it's time to update the garden how do we know we're choosing the best products for wildlife and the environment? SoGlos spoke to Gloucestershire timber supplier, Cheltenham Fencing, to find out what to buy and to learn how it supports the environment too.

By Sarah Kent  |  Published
Gloucestershire timber suppliers, Cheltenham Fencing, prides itself on its locally-made products and its environmentally-friendly accreditation.

Our gardens aren't just outdoor spaces for us to relax and enjoy the fresh air — they're wildlife havens for nature and can help support the environment too.

SoGlos spoke to Phil Robson, branch manager at Cheltenham Fencing based on Old Gloucester Road, to learn how it supports the Earth but also on how Gloucestershire gardeners can choose environmentally-friendly timber products for their own gardens.

What is Cheltenham Fencing doing to make sure it acts in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way, company-wise?

The first and most obvious step we take is choosing timber from sustainable and well-managed sources. This is a key part of our environmental policy, backed up by our FSC Certification.

Our parent company, Walford Timber, runs a very efficient manufacturing facility, where nearly half of its energy usage is provided by its own solar panels. Having our manufacturing facility based in the Wye Valley also reduces the amount of shipping required, compared to the imported products so prevalent in the market.

And here on the ground in Cheltenham, we switched completely to electric forklift trucks last year, removing the need for any diesel to be used on-site at all.

What do you sell that is contributing to sustainability and eco-friendly gardening and shopping?

Everything we sell is sourced from sustainable sources; and everything we manufacture is made to last. This is one of the key features of our products, as, not only does this represent genuine great value, but it also supports sustainability. Products that don’t last as long, due to lower quality materials that need to be replaced more often, increases the amount of resources used by those companies. We developed our award winning 'PermaTimber®' range of fence posts specifically for this reason — our products are backed by guarantee, so we stand by our word.

And what makes these products sustainable or eco-friendly?

Unlike many suppliers of fencing and timber garden products, the vast majority of the timber we use is sourced from within the British Isles. To back this up, we are an FSC Certified supplier. The Forestry Stewardship Council, or FSC, is an extremely rigorous chain-of-custody scheme that demonstrates full traceability of the timber we source. We believe passionately that using renewable and sustainable materials is part of the solution to the many challenges facing our environment. Combined with the durability of the products we produce, we believe this is a winning combination.

What advice would you give to a customer who wants to make sure everything they are buying for their garden is good for wildlife and the environment?

First of all, be diligent when choosing your supplier — ask for their accreditations. Proof of using sustainable timber sources can be demonstrated by holding FSC or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certification. If the supplier doesn’t hold this certification, the timber can’t be sold as being so. You can also check their listing on the FSC website.

Also, quality accreditations such as the WPA Benchmark scheme demonstrate that the preservative process has been fully audited to comply with the British Standards. Unfortunately, you can’t tell by looking at a piece of timber whether it’s been treated properly, only a third-party accreditation like WPA Benchmark or a performance guarantee can tell you this. Failure to check this could result in you replacing your products far earlier than you had anticipated.

And finally, try and find out where or how the products are made — a reputable supplier should be able to tell you this.

Can you tell us a bit more about the FSC and why we should choose FSC certified timber products?

FSC stands for 'Forest Stewardship Council' and is the biggest chain of custody scheme in the world. Only suppliers with complete traceability and rigorous processes will be able to achieve this. If a company doesn’t hold this certification, it cannot sell the timber as being certified as the chain is broken — so it’s always worth checking.

How can gardeners view these products in person before purchasing?

We’re very proud of our new outdoor showroom area which showcases our premium panels range and displays some of our garden buildings, furniture and made-to-measure items.

We have tried to create an inspirational area to give people ideas for their own projects and invite everyone to come along to come along and see it for themselves — you can even help yourself to a tomato or two from our planters!

Customers needing a hand to find someone to carry out work can also take advantage of our installer network, the network contains approved tradesmen from across the region who we have worked with for many years and who we trust to recommend — we hope will give peace of mind to anyone with a project in mind.

In partnership with Cheltenham Fencing  |

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