- When more wood is grown than is used as fuel, there will be a balance between the absorption and emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- Using woodfuel instead of fossil fuel therefore reduces carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere
- Generating heat from recovered clean wood and tree prunings, reduces landfill, turning waste into an energy source.
Long term cost savings
- Using wood could save money in the long term. Boiler running costs compare with oil or gas boilers and government grants may offset high installation costs.
Energy security, Food Security and Environmental Sustainability
- Wood is a reliable, competitively priced source of locally produced energy.
- Our woodlands can support projected woodfuel demands without taking land out of agriculture.
- Woodfuel can sustain woodland management by utilising the parts of trees that previously no-one wanted. When woodland is cleared, Government regulations insist on replanting.
- New woodfuel supply chains will create local jobs and revitalise forest dependent businesses. Woodfuel works best at a local scale.
Air Quality and efficiency
- Modern woodfuel boilers (chip or pellet) are very efficient, easy to operate and produce only small amounts of smoke, ash and air pollutants.
More Wildlife and Landscape Conservation
- Cutting wood opens up woodlands for flowers, insects, birds and small mammals, including rare butterflies and threatened species such as dormice and nightingales.
- Cherished woodlands are seldom ‘natural’ but have developed thanks to a long history of management. New woodfuel markets will secure the future of historic wooded landscapes (eg. the Weald and the Chilterns).
Grants for woodfuel in the South East Region
South East Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE)
Funding is available for farmers, growers, foresters, rural micro-businesses and rural communities to support capital investment and training in the production and use of woodfuel as a renewable energy source. Funding is available to farmers, foresters and contractors towards the purchase of woodfuel processing equipment such as firewood processors and chippers to assist in the production of woodfuel, along with associated transport and storage facilities. Funding is available to rural communities towards the cost of installing renewable energy systems in community facilities. As part of the programmes farm diversification measure farmers can seek funding towards the cost of installing renewable energy systems which will generate additional income to the farm business through the sale of heat or electricity to others through energy supply contracts (ESCo). It is a competitive process and there is no guarantee of funding. For more information see www.seeda.co.uk/rdpe.
National Grant Schemes
The Biomass Energy Centre maintains a comprehensive and up to date list of national bioenergy grants, see Grants and Support