Timber supplier GMG Energy acquires 400 acres in Sutherland

Timber supplier GMG Energy acquires 400 acres in Sutherland

(from left) David Greaves, wood processing operator; Malcolm Morrison, MD; Aaron Smith, sawmill manager; Liam Forbes, wood processing operator and Malcolm Nicolson, site manager

Sustainable biomass supplier and timber products specialist GMG Energy has made a strategic purchase of a substantial swathe of forest in the far north-east of Scotland to protect future supply and increase its resilience to market shocks.

The company, which originated on a farm in the Strath of Halladale in Sutherland, has acquired 400 acres of softwood-planted land at Quintfall Forest, towards the east coast south of John O’Groats.

The forest contains 21,000 tonnes of productive timber, very roughly equivalent to 90,000 tree-sized logs. The sawmill at GMG Energy’s production facility currently processes in the region of 2,000 tonnes a year, meaning that the purchase has created security of supply for the foreseeable future.

As a major plank of its business model, the company is committed to replacing every log of timber that it uses, and plants 10,000 new trees a year, which grow to maturity in 35 years. It far exceeded this target last year, planting in the region of 20,000 trees.

Timber supplier GMG Energy acquires 400 acres in Sutherland

Malcolm Morrison, director of GMG Energy, said: “It has been our policy up until now to buy our raw materials on the open market, from established local suppliers, but this deal will ensure continuity of supply in an increasingly volatile environment.

“Quintfall is just over 20 miles from our base of operation at Bighouse Farm, so it will not add to the road miles burden and the acquisition will chime with our wish to invest locally and provide a reliable resource for other local companies.

“The purchase will not affect our ongoing planting programme, as replenishment is the key to sustainability, and we will continue to try to reduce our impact on the environment by not wasting any of the product with which we work.”

Timber supplier GMG Energy acquires 400 acres in Sutherland

Malcolm Morrison in front of a sawmill

At the same time as the Quintfall purchase, GMG Energy has invested £150,000 in state-of-the-art sawmill equipment which takes its larger timber and processes it into posts, rail, cladding and purlins, or structural roof members.

It also plans a spend in the region of £100,000 on timber treatment equipment which will open up new markets among construction companies and farm businesses which require treated and stress-tested products.

GMG Energy is also investigating the possibility of creating heat and steam from wood waste to turn a turbine in order to self-generate the electricity it uses and to further minimise its environmental impact.

GMG Energy is sited at Bighouse, where Mr Morrison’s Sutherland-born mother still lives in the farmhouse. The company increased turnover in the year to August 2021 to just over £2 million, up from £1.7m the previous year.

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