Burning wood for heat is a truly sustainable source of renewable energy. There are excellent opportunities for woodfuel in the region and we hope that this page gives you the key information.
Why burn wood?
In the East of England we have as much as 70,000 hectares of undermanaged woodland that could provide renewable fuel. Using this resource sensitively by thinning or coppicing will:
- Provide woodland owners with diversified income streams
- Improve the timber quality of our woodlands for future generations
- Enable new sustainable businesses to open
- Increase rural employment and help the local economy
- Reduce our carbon footprint and help the battle against climate change
- Open up the canopy, bringing more light to the woodland floor to the benefit of biodiversity
The Woodfuel Strategy for England was published by the Forestry Commission in March 2007. It contains a national target of bringing to market an additional 2 million tonnes of wood, annually, by 2020. This represents approximately 50% of the currently unharvested sustainable yield in English woodlands and would save 400,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.
Wood for heat has been a priority for the East of England since the publication of the Regional Woodland Strategy in 2003.
A regional woodfuel project
The Forestry Commission, in partnership with Renewables East, commissioned a report entitled "Scoping of a Woodfuel Project for the East of England". The report recommended that in order to oversee investment in the woodfuel sector, and to draw together the awareness raising and promotional activities required, a woodfuel specific and time bounded project is created.
This is, therefore, an exciting time for woodfuel in the East of England with a new regional initiative – Woodfuel East.
Woodfuel East will help woodland owners, woodland managers, agents and consultants, contractors, boiler installers and woodfuel users.
Woodfuel East aims to use locally sourced wood from existing undermanaged woodland to provide heat in small to medium sized boilers. Using this resource sensitively by thinning or coppicing will not only provide woodland owners with diversified income streams but also importantly reduce our carbon footprint and improve the woodland for future generations.
The objective is to stimulate an increase in the amount of biomass made available from existing woodlands of approximately 110,000 green tonnes by 2013. This is an increase of 50% on current wood production from the region.
Achieving such an increase in timber supply would, assuming average conditions, lead to the savings of 40,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year and be equivalent to supplying 25,000 homes with energy (by 2020).
Woodfuel East will support the supply chain by:
- Raising awareness
- Giving help and advice
- Organising training
- Providing strategic investment support
- Linking supply and demand
For further information, please refer to the Woodfuel East website