How much Wood is there?
The total area of woodland (>0.1 hectares) in the West Midlands is approximately 98,474 hectares or 7.6% of landcover. The Forestry Commission manages 16% of this area with the remaining 84% in other ownership. Currently a large proportion of woodlands in other ownership are under-managed but through sustainable, sensitive management could provide a significant quantity of renewable resource.
There is considerable interest in the use of wood as an energy source. Current and impending environmental legislation, and world-wide demands and agreements to reduce carbon emissions, are all factors driving the demand for wood as a fuel. The end product use will determine raw material requirement and woodfuel specifications. There is potential for forestry to meet the demand for woodfuel from brash (foliage, branches and stems usually <7cm diameter), thinnings, or poor quality final crops in both conifer and hardwood crops. There is also the potential for the use of arisings from primary processing mills; this source will be heavily market dependent. Increasing legislation on the disposal of arisings from arboricultural operations offers the opportunity of another resource
Where is it?
See map of Under managed woodland in the West Midlands (pdf 3178k), which shows where the woodlands are across the five counties, (Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire) and the Telford and West Midlands unitaries.
Facts and figures
The Woodfuel Resource website is based on a research study done in 2002 and allows you to run reports for different areas and different product types. For the WM these figures (in ODT – oven dry tonnes) are:
- Forest and Woodland ODT - 214,149 (Forestry products such as branches, tops etc
- Arboricultural Arisings ODT - 31,095 (Tree surgery products)
- Short Rotation Coppice ODT - 388 (Willow and other Short Rotation Coppice)
- Primary Processing Co-Products ODT - 100,460 (Sawmilling off-cuts [slabwood] etc)
- Total - 346,092 (Equivalent to ~700kt green)
Printable Summary Report (pdf 10k)
These figures represent the resource potentially available without competing with conventional forestry and timber products (sawlogs, bars, small roundwood etc).
See the West Midlands woodfuel suppliers page on the Biomass Energy Centre website.
The Low Carbon Buildings programme and the Renewable Energy Assurance Scheme both maintain lists of approved biomass boiler suppliers/installers
Other sources of advice