NFU Cymru has written to the Welsh Government calling for the introduction of new measures to increase the use of British wool in homes and public buildings.
In a letter to the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James, NFU Cymru Livestock Board chairman Wyn Evans has called on Welsh Government to support Welsh farmers by specifying wool-rich carpets and other interior fabrics in all government and local authority buildings.
The letter also advocates for wool insulation to be used as part of insulation grant schemes going forward in Wales on existing properties and new builds.
The letter follows a summer in which sheep farmers have seen the price they receive for their wool clip collapse as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the worldwide market for wool. The situation has sparked a petition, which NFU Cymru is supporting, which calls on the UK Government and each of the devolved governments to make the use of wool mandatory in new home insulations schemes and for insulation and carpeting in public buildings in each of their respective nations.
Opportunities to increase demand for wool
In his letter, Evans said: “You may be aware of the current crisis the British Wool Marketing Board is facing because of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.
"This is severely affecting wool prices, demand and the ability to trade this totally natural, environmentally-friendly product. Wales has approaching five million breeding sheep, for animal welfare purposes sheep must be shorn annually.
"The crisis in wool markets means the price that farmers receive for their wool is only a fraction of their shearing costs, the crisis is, therefore, impacting right down to primary producers of wool and the rural economy.
We believe there are opportunities to increase demand through the domestic market here in Wales. Welsh Government could play a significant role in doing just this whilst meeting commitments to protect and enhance the environment for future generations.
“Wool is a versatile, sustainable product and a fantastic, natural insulator that can help drive improvements in the energy efficiency of new and existing homes.
"We believe its use could be stimulated through grant aid on its environmental benefits. In our view, this would be an be an economic and environmental win.”