Tourism business gets fired up for renewable energy

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28 JUNE 2010NEWS RELEASE No: 13756

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The owner of a holiday complex near Llanbrynmair, Powys is helping to reduce Wales’s carbon footprint by using a newly installed log-fuelled central heating boiler to provide hot water and heating for his guests.

But Terry Margolis’s enthusiasm for renewable energy does not stop there – he is even growing the wood himself to provide fuel for his boiler.

Barlings Barn is a self-catering holiday business with eleven bedrooms in two separate buildings plus sports facilities that include a swimming pool, squash court and sauna.

The 80kw Vigas boiler and 5000 litre accumulator tank provide hot water and space heating for all rooms used by holidaymakers and for the heated indoor swimming pool, laundry and office space.

The boiler was installed with financial support from the Wood Energy Business Scheme (WEBS).

WEBS is a £7.8 million project part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government. It is run by Forestry Commission Wales and offers capital investment to small and medium enterprises for woodfuel heating systems and processing equipment.

WEBS Manager, Mike Pitcher, said, "Modern woodfuel heating is clean and convenient. It is also a sustainable form of renewable energy because using wood in place of fossil fuels helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

"By creating demand for wood locally, Forestry Commission Wales can encourage more woodland owners to bring their woodlands into management.

"Better managed woodlands offer higher financial returns to their owners as well as improving habitats for wildlife and offering opportunities for recreation."

Barlings Barn is surrounded by 20 acres of trees, mainly mature conifers, and Mr Margolis is managing this woodland to supply his own fuel.

Timber from the woodland is processed onsite in a newly erected fuel drying store ready for use in the boiler.

Mr Margolis said, "By running our biomass boiler we are projecting a green tourism image to our guests and not getting any more hefty oil bills.

"Although we are buying in wood at the moment to ensure the moisture content of the timber is low, we have already processed enough wood from our own woodland to achieve our aim of self-sufficiency in the log-fuelled boiler’s second year of operation."

As well as grant support towards installing the new system, Mr Margolis received advice from the WEBS team on the technical aspects of the project and how to submit his application.

Mr Margolis added, "In our research phase, we were struck that no two installations were the same and there are alternative ways of achieving a successful project.

"We were grateful for the WEBS team’s guidance and I would also advise anyone thinking of applying for a grant to visit several installations and talk to different biomass boiler manufacturers before arriving at their purchasing decision."

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

Photo caption: Terry and Felicity Margolis with their newly installed log-fuelled boiler at Barlings Barn near Llanbrynmair, Powys


Wood fuel

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 Wood Energy Business Scheme (WEBS) is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government.

A four-year project between 2009 and 2013 and managed by Forestry Commission Wales, WEBS offers capital investment to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for woodfuel heating systems, small-scale woodfuel Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants and woodfuel processing equipment.

WEBS has around £7.8 million to allocate to SMEs across Wales. 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. It aims to install 40 MW of heat capacity and five MW of electricity.

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, such as sawmills and wood processing plants like Blazers Fuels at Clifford Jones Timber in Ruthin.

For more information on WEBS see 

The Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO)

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

For the period 2007-2013, Wales has been allocated some £1.9 billion by the European Union which will be channelled through the Convergence programmes for West Wales and the Valleys and the Regional Competitiveness and Employment programmes for East Wales.

These funds will generate an investment of over £3 billion and will be used to improve economic growth and employment in line with the Welsh Assembly Government’s strategies and the EU’s Lisbon and Gothenburg agendas. WEFO’s aim is to ensure the European Structural Funds programmes 2007–2013 work efficiently and effectively for Wales, as well as overseeing the conclusion of the 2000-2006 programmes.

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 Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.

Forestry Commission Wales provides advice on forestry policy to the Minister responsible for forestry. It provides grant aid to the private sector and regulates forestry by issuing felling licences.

Forestry Commission Wales is also part of Forestry Commission GB and contributes to the international forestry agenda.

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

Press office contact: Mary Galliers,, 0300 068 0057.