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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 2020. 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 (May 2021) reported average employment1 in 2019 of 18 thousand in forestry, 7 thousand in sawmilling and 5 thousand in panel mills.
  • There was estimated to be a total of 7.1 thousand full time equivalent staff employed1 by primary wood processors in the UK in 2020 a 3% decrease from the total for 2019.
  • The latest major accident rates for Great Britain, covering 2019-2020, show levels similar or lower to 2018-2019 rates for both the forestry and wood products sectors, whilst the major accident rate for the pulp and paper sector has increased.
  • There were 200 establishments in the primary wood processing industries in the UK using UK-grown roundwood in 2020.

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.


FS2021: Employment & Businesses

PDF, 0.51 MB

Chapter 7 text in PDF format

FS2021: Employment & Businesses tables


Chapter 7 tables in Microsoft Excel format

FS2021: Employment & Businesses tables


Chapter 7 tables in OpenDocument Spreadsheet format

Tools & Resources
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