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Prison kitchens on the Isle of Wight are having their first woodfuelled winter, using wood from neighbouring Forestry Commission land and supplied by a well-known actor.
HMP Isle of Wight, which combines the three prisons, Albany, Camp Hill and Parkhurst, has the island’s first woodchip boiler, and is providing a kick-start to business opportunities in the green energy sector.
Gillian Alker, the Forestry Commission’s South East woodfuel officer, said:
"This boiler is good news for the Isle of Wight, its environment and its people. We had been in a chicken and egg situation, where no one would install a woodchip boiler without a guaranteed supply of wood, and no-one would invest in the supply chain without a market for woodchips.
"The boiler has helped break this stalemate, along with Wood End Enterprises, a supply business owned by former Coronation Street actor, Geoff Hughes. Wood End invested in equipment to convert wood into fuel and is now supplying the prisons.
"The woodfuel sector can now go from strength to strength, which help improve the island’s environment and its economy."
Gillian explained that woodfuel was carbon-lean, as growing trees absorbed carbon, and managing woods to supply fuel helped improve the environment.
"Traditional woodland management, such as coppicing or thinning, are needed to generate wood and this in turn improve biodiversity. For example woodland management at Parkhurst Forest is helping ensure the survival of the nationally-scarce Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly.
"Woodfuel provides an economic incentive to carrying out woodland management, and this is in turn, is creating jobs and business opportunities."
Danny Horne, Wood End Enterprises biomass consultant, said:
"Woodfuel is also providing a real opportunity to reduce the island’s carbon footprint and bring local woodlands back to life.
"This boiler, which will supply heat and hot water to the prisons’ catering facility, is a good example of what can be done and we hope it will encourage more people to consider using local woodfuel."
NOTES TO EDITORS
- Photograph shows Wood End Enterprises chipping wood from Parkhurst Forest to produce Woodfuel for the prisons new boiler.
- 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
- For national and regional information about woodfuel, including grants and events, go to: www.forestry.gov.uk/england-woodfuel
- For more information about Wood End Enterprises go to:
Gillian Alker, the Forestry Commission’s South East woodfuel Coordinator, tel. 01420 23337
Chris Johnson, Press Officer, Forestry Commission England, tel 01223 346034, email firstname.lastname@example.org