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This chapter contains information on:

  • employment in forestry and wood processing;
  • health & safety; and
  • numbers of businesses.

All of the statistics presented in this chapter relate to UK totals. Further information on the data sources and methodology used to compile the figures is provided in the Sources chapter.

Most of the statistics presented in this chapter have been previously released. Some of the figures in this chapter have been revised since Forestry Statistics 2018. For further details on revisions, see the Employment section of the Sources chapter.

A copy of all Employment & Businesses tables can be accessed in spreadsheet format from the Data Downloads web page at

Key findings

The main findings are:

  • The Annual Business Survey reported average employment1 in 2017 of 16 thousand in forestry and 27 thousand in primary wood processing.
  • There was estimated to be a total of 7.7 thousand full time equivalent staff employed1 by primary wood processors in the UK in 2018, a 2% decrease from the total for 2017.
  • Accident rates in forestry and wood products have tended to decline in recent years, but are still higher than the averages in agriculture and manufacturing respectively.
  • There were 213 establishments in the primary wood processing industries in the UK using UK-grown roundwood in 2018.


1.  There are a number of differences in the scope of the employment figures reported from the Annual Business Survey (ABS) and the full time equivalent figures obtained from the annual surveys of the UK timber industry run by Forest Research (FR). In particular, the ABS figures cover employment by all businesses in the relevant sectors that pay VAT and/ or PAYE. This will include businesses that do not use UK grown timber. The FR surveys include businesses below the VAT and PAYE thresholds, but exclude businesses that do not use UK grown timber.

Additional resources

Sources chapter: Employment and businesses

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