Countryside Jobs Service

CJS Focus on Trees & Hedges

Supporting Woodfuel Development



19 November 2007

Logo: The Tree Council

In Association with: 

The Tree Council for National Tree Week

Logo: Forestry Commission

Supporting woodfuel development


Woodfuel is not new — wood has been used as a fuel since humans first learned how to make fire. It has always been a major source of energy, providing warmth and light. Now woodfuel is news again, attracting fresh attention as a means of replacing fossil fuels with a clean and sustainable source of renewable energy that can help to cut greenhouse gases and other emissions.

Woodfuel is a renewable, ‘carbon lean’ energy source as growing more trees absorbs carbon that is released into the atmosphere by burning the fuel. As well as cutting carbon and producing renewable energy, woodfuel benefits biodiversity through sustainable management of neglected woodlands and boosts the rural economy.
Many countries are well ahead of the UK in their use of woodfuel and other renewable energy technologies. The Woodfuel Information Pack - the result of several years’ development work by Forest Research, the research agency of the Forestry Commission – helps to bring the UK up-to-speed and provides a resource to help deal with increasing demand for information and support.

The pack clearly outlines the benefits of using wood as fuel including details of renewable energy targets and policy, sources, conversion, end users and systems. Also available is the booklet Woodfuel Meets the Challenge – a basic guide to woodfuel. Both publications can be downloaded from www.forestresearch.gov.uk/woodfuel

Practical advice on using woodfuel and other forms of biomass is available from the Biomass Energy Centre (BEC), owned and managed by Forest Research. BEC draws together information from existing sources into one easy to use website and enquiry service at www.biomassenergycentre.org.uk

The Forestry Commission’s Woodfuel Strategy for England (www.forestry.gov.uk/england-woodfuel), published in March, aims to boost the woodfuel market with an extra two million tonnes of wood a year by 2020, saving 400,000 tonnes of carbon annually.

A priority for Forestry Commission England is raising awareness of woodfuel. As well as highlighting the benefits at renewable energy exhibitions and regional shows, it provided information to music fans at this summer’s Glastonbury Festival about the environmental benefits of woodfuel.

Recent key energy policy initiatives in Scotland include the Biomass Action Plan for Scotland (launched March 2007), the development of the Renewable Heat Strategy and the launch of the Woodfuel Task Force in July to respond to the growing demand for biomass information in Scotland.

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) has also delivered a number of biomass grant schemes, most recently the Scottish Government’s £10.5 million Scottish Biomass Support Scheme, which is supporting 76 installation projects and supply chains across the country. This is supported by the network of FCS Woodfuel Information Officers who provide advice and information and work at a regional level to develop strategies to support biomass development. FCS also provides a one stop shop for woodfuel information through its Woodenergy Scotland website, www.usewoodfuel.co.uk.

The Wood Energy Business Scheme (WEBS) in Wales has been providing grant support to assist small enterprises to set up fuel supply businesses and it has grant funded the installation of over 60 woodfuel boilers in a range of sites including schools, hospitals, Member of Tree Council

accommodation providers and wood working businesses. FC Wales hopes to launch a new round of WEBS in 2008. FC Wales has also been working closely with the Welsh Assembly Government to help develop targets for future biomass development for heat, CHP and electricity generation. 

Contacted August 2011 - believed to be correct

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