Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru MS for Mid & West Wales, recently visited the British Wool depot in Brecon to learn more about the challenges facing the industry in Wales.
Mr Campbell, who is chair of the newly formed Senedd Cross-Party Group (CPG) on Welsh Wool, was joined by Andrew Hogley, Chief Executive of British Wool, and Jacqui Pearce from the Welsh Wool Alliance.
During Mr Campbell’s visit he was given a first-hand experience of the collection and grading of wool undertaken at the site by depot manager, Brian Jones, as well as learning more about the vast potential and uses of wool – from clothes to mattresses to insulation.
British Wool – which has two depots in Wales at Newtown and Brecon - is owned by approximately 35,000 sheep farmers in the UK - collecting, grading, marketing and selling British wool on behalf of their producers to the international wool textile industry for use in flooring, furnishings and apparel.
Wales has thousands of sheep farmers – and a long history of wool production. However, recent years have been a challenging time for the industry, with the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by increased energy and production prices, placing strains on the sector.
An opportunity was however had to discuss the vast potential of the versatile and sustainable resource – particularly as part of wider Welsh Government procurement and climate change ambitions – including home insultation.
Following his visit, Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru MS for Mid & West Wales: “I welcomed the opportunity to visit the British Wool depot in Brecon and learn more about the work undertaken at the site, as well as the state of the Welsh wool sector as a whole.
"Wool is so closely entwined with the very fabric of our rural communities, however there’s no denying that recent years have been a challenging time for the wool sector. I have no doubt it has enormous potential both as a stimulus for our rural economies, and in contributing towards wider Welsh Government sustainability and climate change ambitions.”
Mr Hogley, Chief Executive of British Wool said: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Cefin to the British Wool depot and have an opportunity to discuss how government policy on procurement, provenance and promotion could help support Welsh sheep farmers in getting more value for their wool.”
Jacqui Pearce, Chair of the Welsh Wool Alliance added: “It was great to discuss the partnerships and momentum we are harnessing in the Welsh Wool sector, working with both British Wool and the Senedd Cross-Party Group, delivering strategic projects from Farm to Finish which will help Wales lead the charge in reform, protection and value in our historic Wool Industry.”