NEIL Hamilton, MS for Mid & West Wales, and Leader of UKIP Wales is supporting calls to use sheep wool for home insulation schemes.
Mr Hamilton, a member of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs committee, is backing NFU Cymru, who support a national petition aimed at delivering a new long term market for British wool.
“We all know the sheep wool sector has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis here in Wales, as it has in the rest of the UK. I welcome and warmly support any initiatives to help wool farmers who are struggling.
“As we continue to cope with coronavirus, the world’s wool market is under serious pressure and farmers are experiencing significant price reductions due to reduced demand.
“I have heard cases where farmers are dumping wool fleeces on their manure heaps rather than sell at a loss. This is clearly unacceptable and cannot continue.
“Wool is a natural, environmentally friendly resource and we should be looking at wider ways to make use of this renewable material. Using it for insulation in government home insulation schemes is an excellent idea which I am pleased actively to support.”
The petition, which has now been signed by over 23,000 people, is calling for British Wool products to be mandatory for insulating in the UK Government’s new home insulation scheme and for insulation and carpeting in any public financed building projects.
It also calls on each of the devolved governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to follow suit and incorporate British wool into similar home insulation schemes and carpeting for publicly-financed buildings in their respective countries.
The call comes after increasing reports that farmers are incorporating wool fleeces into the manure heap rather than selling to British Wool, after the price of wool fell way below the price of shearing for many farmers.
The campaign has been endorsed by the NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland, UIster Farmers’ Union, the National Sheep Association and the British Wool Board.
NFU Cymru Livestock Board Chairman Wyn Evans said: “NFU Cymru is pleased to support this important petition which we hope will go some way to driving much-needed change in how British wool is utilised.
“Farmers across Wales and the rest of the UK have been extremely disheartened by the low prices they have received for this natural, versatile, sustainable product, so any move to promote its use in carpets, textiles, clothing and, indeed, housing insulation, is to be welcomed.
“I encourage farmers and members of the public to sign this petition urging our respective governments to encourage the building trade to make use of this fantastic, natural insulator to help improve the energy efficiency of new homes.”