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Rural heating and woodland management business are being urged to prepare for an increase in demand for woodfuel this autumn following the launch of a new Forestry Commission England plan today to boost the sector.
Using woodfuel will grow the green economy, improve woodland health and wildlife and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In just eight years, the Forestry Commission says, two million tonnes of untapped woodfuel supplies in England could be used every year to heat rural schools, flats and medium-sized businesses. Overall woodfuel could generate £1billion, gross value added, creating and supporting more than 15,000 jobs in the UK.
Launching the Forestry Commission’s Woodfuel Implementation Plan at Ignition11 in Manchester, Chair Pam Warhurst said:
“Win, win, win is a phrase often wheeled out yet it is not always convincing. But for woodfuel it is absolutely true. Sustainably grown and locally used woodfuel is good for rural businesses, improves woodland health and wildlife and cuts climate change emissions.
“According to our figures about half of the woodland in England is undermanaged. This means there is a great deal of wood, at least two million tonnes a year, that could be used for woodfuel and it is just sitting there as woodlands slowly suffer. This could supply enough energy to heat the equivalent of 800 hospitals or 3,000 schools and save 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year, roughly the emissions from three million barrels of crude oil. At today’s prices the woodfuel alone could be worth around £120m.
“The Renewable Heat Incentive has already been announced and we will have a £10 million grant scheme up and running in the summer to develop access within woodlands to allow fuel and other wood products to be harvested economically.”
NOTES TO EDITOR
- 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
- The Forestry Commission’s Woodfuel Implementation Plan 2011 – 2014 is online. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/england-woodfuel
Woodfuel markets already contribute to the green economy by creating jobs, tackling climate change and providing local communities and businesses with a reliable supply of renewable, low carbon energy. Managed woodlands are healthier and better for wildlife.
By 2020 in England we will be using an extra two million tonnes of woodfuel a year from untapped supplies in undermanaged woodlands. This could supply enough energy to heat 800 hospitals or 3,000 schools and save 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year, the equivalent of three million barrels of crude oil. At today’s prices the woodfuel alone could be worth around £120m. Overall woodfuel could generate £1billion, gross value added, creating and supporting more than 15,000 jobs in the UK.
- Information on the Renewable Heat Incentive is available online. http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_energy/Renewable_ener/incentive/incentive.aspx
- The Woodfuel Woodland Improvement Grant is a new grant that supports the sustainable production of woodfuel and other timber products. Work needs to meet the UK Forest Standard but the basis for support is economic rather than environmental or social. This grant will open for applications in Summer 2011. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/ewgs-wigwoodfuel
- Media Contact: Stuart Burgess, 0117 372 1073, email@example.com