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Woodfuel in the South West

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If you have a question about Woodfuel visit our national frequently asked questions page to see if your woodfuel question has been answered.

Visit national frequently asked questions.

Wood – the ultimate renewable resource

Renewable energy from biomass - and in particular woodfuel - provides a real opportunity to help combat climate change and can cut energy bills.  It can also improve the economics of the forestry sector and provide business opportunities along the woodfuel supply chain.

This emerging energy market provides an excellent opportunity for woodland owners in South West England to reinvigorate the management of their woods and forests.  Satisfying the market for woodfuel will also generate revenue to enable owners to improve both the quality and the amount of high value timber available in the future.  Bringing woods into management will also increase their value to wildlife.

Woodburning technology has developed over recent years and highly efficient, automated wood-fired boilers and stoves are now available.  These can provide a cost effective and practical alternative to fossil fuels for heating, hot water and even electricity production. 

An opportunity for the South West

The South West has some 245,000 hectares of woodland and it is estimated that over half is not in active management.

This significant under-utilised resource provides a real opportunity.  Our aim is to get owners to reconsider their woodlands and appreciate the benefits of woodland management.  This can create economic and environmental benefits for themselves and to society as a whole. 

The Forestry Commission’s ‘A Woodfuel Strategy for England’ (PDF 3.9MB) has a target of increasing woodfuel production from England’s woodlands by an additional 2m tonnes per annum by 2020.  To achieve this target, it will be focusing efforts on the potential wood resource available in the woodlands that are currently under-managed.

In the South West, we are working in partnership with the regional agencies, businesses and other organisations to promote and develop the markets and supply chains – from woodland owners through to woodfuel users.

Supporting Woodfuel in the South West

South West Woodshed provides regional information on news, events, guidance documents, case studies and fuel suppliers.  It is the information portal for the South West Bioheat Programme.  In addition the Forestry Commission is working with the UK partners, RegenSW, University of Exeter and Severn-Wye Energy Agency, to support the development of the SW woodfuel supply chain through the EU funded FOREST project, see www.forestprogramme.com 

South West Sustainable Woodlands (Silvanus Trust website) provides support and advice to rural businesses wishing to take advantage of the opportunities for investment to improve the economic value of forests or forest products, including woodfuel, available under the Rural Development Plan for England (RDPE). 

The Biomass Energy Centre provides a central reference point for impartial information, advice and guidance to individuals and organisations on a wide range of biomass fuels and technologies.

For further information and advice on Woodfuel opportunities within the South West, please contact Mark Prior Partnership and Expertise Manager.