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Private Sector Softwood Removals Survey

Introduction

The Private Sector Softwood Removals Survey is an annual survey conducted by Forest Research (on behalf of the Forestry Commission, Scottish Forestry, Natural Resources Wales and the Northern Ireland Forest Service) of a sample of harvesting companies in the UK.

Figures are published as UK totals and by country (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland).

Data collected

The questionnaire used for the Private Sector Softwood Removals Survey (available at Private Sector Softwood Removals Survey – Forest Research) is issued annually to around 40 harvesting companies, to collect information on:

  • the quantity of softwood roundwood harvested from private sector woodlands in the UK in the current (latest) year and in the previous year;
  • the quantity of softwood roundwood harvested from certified private sector woodlands;
  • (from the 2008 survey) the quantity sold to bioenergy (including wood pellet manufacture);
  • (for the 2013 – 2017 surveys) the quantity of softwood roundwood harvested as required by plant health legislation and
  • (from the 2018 survey) the quantity of removals by type of product.

Response rates

The questionnaire was issued to 43 harvesting companies for the collection of 2018 data, of which 37 responded, giving a response rate of 86%.  These respondents are estimated to account for around 90% of all the softwood harvested by companies covered by the survey.

Private Sector Softwood Removals Survey Response Rates, 2009-2018

Year Forms issued Responses received Response rate1 Weighted response rate2
2009 40 30 75% 92%
2010 40 30 75% 97%
2011 37 26 70% 96%
2012 37 27 73% 95%
2013 40 28 70% 96%
2014 39 30 77% 97%
2015 40 27 68% 94%
2016 40 26 65% 94%
2017 40 31 78% 95%
2018 43 37 86% 90%

Notes:

1. Response rates are calculated as the number of responses received divided by the number of forms issued.

2. Weighted response rates are an estimate of the proportion of the softwood harvested by companies covered by the survey that is accounted for by respondents.

Methodology

A review of the methodology used to estimate total private sector softwood removals (including businesses not covered by the survey) was undertaken in 2011-2012.

The "Methodology Review of Softwood Removals from Non-FC/FS Woodland" paper presents the results from this review and the implications of the change in methodology. The paper is available at Methodology and Outputs – Forest Research.

In the current methodology, businesses not covered by the survey are assumed to represent 15% of the total softwood removals from private sector woodland.  This fixed percentage is applied from 2006 onwards.  This figure is under review.

Quality

Detailed information on the survey quality is available in the Quality Report: Private Sector Softwood Removals Survey.

Further quality information on our Official Statistics is available at: Quality of Official Statistics – Forest Research.

 

Revisions

Results from the Private Sector Softwood Removals Survey may be revised between the provisional figures published in the First Release "UK Wood Production and Trade: provisional figures" and the final data published in "Forestry Facts & Figures" and "Forestry Statistics", to take account of late returns and the results of additional data quality checking procedures.

In order to use the most accurate information possible in estimating total private sector softwood removals, figures for non respondents in earlier years are estimated wherever possible, using their responses in previous and in subsequent years.  This may cause the estimates for all previous years to be revised when new data are received from a former non-respondent.  This process reduces the potential over-inflation of estimated removals which can be caused by harvesting companies tending to respond when removals have increased but being less likely to do so when their removals have reduced.

Figures for 2018 are final; provisional figures were previously released in "UK Wood Production and Trade: 2018 provisional figures".  Figures for 2018 and earlier years have not been revised from those in "UK Wood Production and Trade: 2018 provisional figures". Information on revisions made since "Forestry Statistics 2018" are provided in "UK Wood Production and Trade: 2018 provisional figures".

Release schedule

Provisional figures for 2019 will be released on 14 May 2020 in "UK Wood Production and Trade: 2019 provisional figures".

Final figures for 2019 will be released on 24 September 2020 in "Forestry Statistics 2020" and "Forestry Facts & Figures 2020".

Additional resources

Chapter 2: UK-Grown Timber

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