£1.2m South Lakes saw mill investment turns natural disaster into business opportunity

LOGGING ON: From left - Max, Peter and Guy Irving

LOGGING ON: From left - Max, Peter and Guy Irving

First published in News

A FAMILY-run business will invest £1.2m and create seven full-time jobs as it deals with a natural disaster which has struck Lakeland woodland.

P Irving and Sons, run by father and sons Peter Irving, Max Irving and Guy Thompson, say they will also reduce carbon emissions across the area by dealing with a larch infection on site at their sawmill at Hutton Roof.

“A lot of people are simply burning infected wood,” explained Peter.

“It’s being sent to power plants, for example Lockerbie, and this means more wagons on the roads and is also a waste of the timber.

“So what we plan to do is deal with it here, turning it into products it can still be used for, like fencing.”

This, he continued, will ensure the wood stays in the area and will also ensure landowners receive a better price for it.

“It’s just the sensible option, as far as we see it,” added Mr Thompson.

The plans have come about as a result of an infection which has hit trees across the UK.

In the local area there has been an outbreak - including at Grizedale - and the timber cannot be used as widely as ‘clean’ wood.

The family say they will process affected wood from within a 50 mile radius but will need to carry out work on site before they can accommodate it.

They now hope to get permission from South Lakeland District Council to install a new chipping mill and biomass boiler on their existing site, at a total project cost of £1.2m.

“We also see this as an investment in the local area,” added Peter.

The business, which is one of the largest private employers in Kirkby Lonsdale with 21 full-time staff, deals with the engineering of lumber which is used for firewood, bio-timber, gate and farm posts and garden furniture, among other things.

It has been in existence since the 1960s, after being founded by Peter’s father, Phillip.

The family say the bi-products of the diseased timber will ultimately be used to generate electricity which will be fed into the National Grid.

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