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South West's green energy hot spots in new survey

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feeding boiler at castle drogo

A new survey on green energy from Forestry Commission England has shown the South West is a hot spot for the use of biomass.

With 284 biomass boilers identified in the region, it has the second highest number in England, and only six behind the leaders, Yorkshire and The Humber. This is an increase of 75 on those identified  in the SW in 2008.

The Commission is supporting the use of biomass by working to increase the amount of woodfuel reaching this growing market and the number of boilers being installed.

Mark Prior, the Forestry Commission’s SW woodfuel co-ordinator, said:

“The South West is England’s largest region and is the second most wooded, with 206,000 hectares of woodland over two hectares.

“More than half this woodland is undermanaged and this provides a real opportunity to develop the woodfuel market, improve biodiversity and create jobs.

“Our aim is get owners to re-think their woodland management. By managing woodlands for renewable fuel production, we can help to improve biodiversity and improve wildlife habitats, as well as creating jobs in rural areas.”

Mark runs the SW Bioheat Programme that promotes the woodfuel supply chain. This enables undermanaged woods back into production to provide a local source of woodfuel for the increasing number of woodfuel boilers.

On Friday (29 January), Mark is speaking at a biomass masterclass at Castle Drogo, near Exeter. The free event covers the latest grants available and other aspects of biomass heating. Delegates will also be able tocan visit the woodfuelled biomass heating system at the castle.

He said:

“Woodfuel boilers are suitable for a whole range of larger, commercial and community buildings, such as Castle Drogo and Lanoyce Horticultural Nurseries, near Saltash.

“We want more people to consider this traditional and renewable fuel as a future heat-source.”

1. The Forestry Commission 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. Further information can be found at

2. For more information about woodfuel go to:

3. The Biomass Heat Boilers in England 2009 survey was commissioned for the Forestry Commission, by the Renewable Energy Association Ltd. The survey was based on the responses from 35 organisations on non-domestic biomass boilers.

4. For more information about the Biomass Masterclass go to:

Chris Johnson, Press Officer, Forestry Commission England, tel 01223 346034, email