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A new survey from Forestry Commission England has shown that more green energy boilers are now being used to heat the region.
It has identified 245 biomass boilers in the West Midlands, up from 222 in 2008, putting it in the middle of the English league table.
The Commission is supporting the use of biomass and is working to increase the amount of woodfuel reaching this growing market and the number of boilers being installed.
Simon West, who leads on woodfuel for the Forestry Commission in the West Midlands, said:
“Woodfuel is a great source of green energy and is especially suited to larger buildings such as schools and businesses.
“A good example of a new woodfuel boiler can be found at St Luke’s School in Wolverhampton. This is the first winter for the new school and woodfuel is helping to keep its pupils and staff warm, whatever the weather.”
He explained that the increase in woodfuel boilers was good news for the local and global environment. Wood absorbed carbon as it grew, so the end result was a carbon lean source of fuel.
Managing woodlands for fuel also improved the range of habitats for wildlife, as well as creating jobs and business opportunities.
The Forestry Commission is working with Heartwoods to promote the woodfuel supply chain in the West Midlands, from bringing undermanaged woods back into production to increasing the number of woodfuel boilers. This will create new jobs and businesses in forestry, haulage, woodfuel supply and boiler installation.
“Our aim is get owners to re-think their woodland management. This can create economic and environmental benefits for themselves and to society as a whole.This traditional fuel can provide us with a future energy-source.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
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 www.forestry.gov.uk/england
2. For more information about woodfuel go to: www.forestry.gov.uk/england-woodfuel.
3. Heartwoods is a wholly owned subsidiary of Small Woods and exists to develop a regional approach to sustainable woodland management, pulling together a wider partnership to deliver across the region. It has recently secured £827k of Rural Development Programme for England funding to deliver a woodfuel supply chain project. For more information go to: www.heartwoods.co.uk
4. 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.
Chris Johnson, Press Officer, Forestry Commission England, tel 01223 346034, email firstname.lastname@example.org