The National Sheep Association (NSA) has welcomed an apparent commitment by the Welsh government to consider using more British wool as a natural insulation product in public buildings.
The move comes at the same time as a UK-wide petition, calling for Westminster to subsidise the use of wool as a home insulation product, has gathered more support, with almost 28,000 signatures.
The petition started in response to critically low prices for wool, which has seen many sheep farmers simply dump the product or use it as fertiliser.
The Welsh announcement was contained in a letter from Welsh rural affairs secretary Lesley Griffiths to Welsh Conservative MS Janet Finch-Saunders.
In it she said: “I am pleased to say the Welsh government’s own facilities management team has committed to consider the more widespread use of wool in our estate in future, subject to the required compliance testing and certification.”
Ms Saunders leapt on this and said she would write to the Welsh government housing minister Julie James, demanding that the Welsh policy be taken further and for wool to be used in all home insulation projects.
“Without an explicit commitment, our farmers’ wish to develop new and sustainable markets appears to have been stonewalled at this most challenging time,” she said.
The developments have been welcomed by NSA chief executive Phil Stocker, who hoped the move would become standard for all public buildings across the UK.
“Wool is such a fantastic resource to use for home improvements such as loft and wall insulation,” he said.
“Some may claim it can cause problems with pest infestation, but this is nothing that cannot be easily overcome by technical creativity through treatment or with the use of additional physical barriers.”
The online petition encouraging the use of wool in public and private buildings is still live and can be signed here.