Pallet firm thinks outside the box to keep staff warm

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An award-winning company which makes pallets and timber boxes and crates for firms throughout the UK and Ireland is to use waste wood from the production process to keep its staff warm through the winter.

Welsh Boxes and Engineering installed a wood-fired heater to provide space heating for two units at the company’s heavy duty division in Fforestfach, Swansea, after it received a grant of £4,600 from the Wood Energy Business Scheme (WEBS), a £20 million EU-backed project run by Forestry Commission Wales.

The heater will be fed using wood waste from the company’s timber section and replaces the gas infra-red heating in the production area, thereby reducing carbon emissions.

WEBS is part-funded with £7.8 million from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. It offers capital investment to small and medium enterprises for woodfuel heating systems and processing equipment to develop the sustainable and renewable wood heat market across Wales.

Ron Hinder, Welsh Boxes Managing Director, said, “During summer months we will be stockpiling the waste wood in order to maximise our environmental efficiency.

“The recycling process makes a highly efficient use of the manufacturing waste product and, by burning our waste timber from the pallet making section, we have reduced our landfill skips significantly.”

Welsh Boxes makes conventional, heavy duty and timber packaging for anything from leisure craft for the marine industry to precision parts for the aerospace industry.

Founded in 1937, the business operates from a 56,000 sq ft manufacturing and warehousing facility and also boasts clients in the automotive, scientific and medical industries.

It has won numerous awards for its bespoke packaging design and manufacture of eco-friendly corrugated cardboard and timber boxes, all made to customers’ specifications.

Mr Hinder said, “The WEBS grant has been of great benefit in helping us to reduce our gas heating bill and improve our environmental credentials.

“The WEBS staff were very helpful with the project from the application stage through to completion, and I would recommend this scheme to other potential applicants as a way of saving money on heating and protecting the environment.”

WEBS Programme Manager Mike Pitcher said using wood for energy could help make companies more competitive, as well as having benefits for the environment.

“The wood fuel industry creates opportunities for existing and new businesses to turn their low value waste into valuable fuel products, strengthening and complementing their existing businesses,” he said.

“The economic opportunity of wood fuel production can also give woodland owners the incentive to bring more of their land into sustainable management.”

For more information on the WEBS grant scheme, see or contact Michelle Brunt on 0300 068 0088,

For more information on Welsh Boxes and Engineering, contact Ron Hinder on 01792 586527, email or visit the website at



Using wood from well-managed woodlands provides a renewable source of fuel and other products as well as giving woodland owners an incentive to manage their land productively, improving conditions for wildlife and amenity.
Although burning wood releases carbon dioxide, this is balanced by the carbon dioxide absorbed in the original growth of the trees and in the growth of new ones.

Where timber is harvested for fuel, and felled trees are replaced (for example, under sustainable forestry management), the net emissions are reduced. This is because the CO2 released is effectively reabsorbed by the trees planted in replacement.

By contrast, burning fossil fuel like coal or oil releases carbon that has been locked up and out of the system for millions of years, so adding to the overall level of atmospheric carbon.

The use of wood as a fuel, in place of fossil fuels, can contribute to national targets to increase the use of renewable energy and global targets to reduce carbon emissions.

Wood Energy Business Scheme (WEBS)

The aim of the Wood Energy Business Scheme (WEBS) is to provide capital grant support to micro-businesses, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and social enterprises to develop the sustainable and renewable wood heat market across Wales.

Three types of project are eligible for grant support:

• Woodfuel heating systems

• Small scale electricity generation using wood - Combined Heat and Power (CHP)

• Woodfuel supply businesses

Managed by Forestry Commission Wales, WEBS is a £20 million capital grant scheme. The funding is made up of £7.8 million of European Regional Development Fund funding through the Welsh European Funding Office of the Welsh Assembly Government; the remainder will be from various match-funding sources.

WEBS is a pan Wales project and funding intervention levels for individual applicants are likely to be up to 41% in the Convergence Area of West Wales and the Valleys and 31% in the Regional Competitiveness and Employment area of East Wales. WEBS is a four-year project which runs between 2009 and 2013.

WEBS builds on the experience of the previous round of funding, also supported with European funding, which Forestry Commission Wales managed between 2004 and 2008, resulting in 17,000 tonnes of CO2 being saved per year using 33,000 tonnes of clean, sustainable fuel. It funded 80 schemes which included heating schemes in commercial and public sector buildings, from small rural tourism businesses, manufacturing businesses and public sector sites including hospitals and schools. It also funded a range of fuel supply businesses producing wood chips and pellets, including sawmills and wood processing plants.

For more information on WEBS see

The Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO)

The Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) is part of the Welsh Government's Department for Economy and Transport and is responsible for administering the European Structural Funds in Wales.

The £3.2bn 2007-2013 programmes in Wales include the Convergence programmes for West Wales and the Valleys (the successor to Objective 1), and the Regional Competitiveness and Employment programmes for East Wales. The programmes are delivered by the Welsh Government and are aimed at creating employment opportunities, business growth, regenerating Wales’ most deprived communities and protecting the environment.

Forestry Commission Wales

About 14% of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

Press office contact: Clive Davies,, 0300 068 0061.