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A survey conducted by the Forestry Commission reveals that the woodfuel industry could attract the equivalent of over 24,000 full-time new jobs by 2020.
Key organisations within the industry from the forest to the boiler were asked for their projections, including woodland management, woodchip and pellet producers and heating suppliers.
The figures show that in 2008 the woodfuel industry supported almost 5,500 jobs in direct and indirect employment, and this total is expected to increase by more than 24,000 to 30,000 full time equivalents by 2020.
The survey also shows how output in the UK could increase considerably, from approximately £312 million to over £1.9 billion over the next ten years, in Gross Value Added (GVA), the measurement of the contribution to the economy. This growth will see an increase in its share of national output from 0.01% to 0.07%.
The increase is driven by the Forestry Commission’s target to produce by 2020 an extra two million tonnes of wood per year from the country’s woodlands where 60 per cent are considered to be under-managed.
This target is part of the national commitment that 15% of the energy we consume must be derived from renewable sources by 2020, and according to the Government’s Renewable Heat Consultation, published in February, the aim is to bring about a speedy transition to a low carbon energy supply.
Angela Duignan, Head of Woodfuel Implementation at the Forestry Commission, said:
"Woodfuel has a crucial role to play in meeting this renewable energy target, and our sights are set on making a year-on-year increase in the supply of woodfuel by the end of the decade. That in itself will create more jobs."
"The figures in this survey are obviously impressive and give a glimpse of how the market is set to grow in the next decade.
"They may only be an indicator, but even in the last year, we have witnessed increased demand for woodfuel with more commercial and domestic users. More landowners are also moving to woodland management, helping to boost the amount of wood that is available."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. Woodlands are actively managed for a number of reasons. These include maximising the yield of economically important products such as timber and game, as well as for conservation and biodiversity. Recreational access is also becoming increasingly important.
2. National Woodfuel Policy - The UK Government is committed to combating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. In 2008, Government signed up to European targets to produce 15% of all energy produced in the UK from renewable sources and the recent Renewable Energy Strategy proposed that 30% of that renewable energy would come from bioenergy. Woodfuel is a sustainable and low carbon source of bioenergy that can make a substantial contribution to achieving these targets. For more information on national renewable energy and climate change policy visit the Department for Energy and Climate website, www.decc.gov.uk
Within the Forestry Commission, England, Scotland and Wales are working in partnership with many private and public sector organisations to help deliver these national bioenergy targets.
3. Woodfuel - for the Forestry Commission's national and regional information about woodfuel, including grants and events, go to: www.forestry.gov.uk/england-woodfuel
4. Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. For further information visit www.forestry.gov.uk
Chris Johnson, Press Officer, Forestry Commission, phone 01223 346034, email firstname.lastname@example.org