Wood energy grant helps Gower bed and breakfast go green

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A luxury boutique bed and breakfast in the seaside village of Llangennith is the first tourism business in the Gower to receive a grant for wood-fuelled energy from Forestry Commission Wales. Thanks to the financial support from the Wood Energy Business Scheme (WEBS), a wood pellet boiler has been installed at Blas Gŵyr.

The 32kw Okofen boiler provides space heating and hot water to the bed and breakfast, which consists of four luxury suites and a coffee shop in a renovated courtyard building at Plenty Farm, Llangennith.

The boiler is fuelled by wood pellets, an efficient and convenient form of woodfuel made from compressed sawdust. In order to operate the high efficiency boiler, a large hot water storage tank has been included in the system that can also be heated by solar energy in future.

Blas Gŵyr owner Dafydd Llyr James said, "With costs for alternative technology in respect of energy generation still relatively high, the WEBS grant enabled us to consider biomass as a real alternative to traditional forms of energy generation such as gas, oil and electricity.

"Although costs in the short term don’t appear much different to other forms of energy generation, we’re in this for the long haul and, as prices for gas and oil rise, we are likely to see long term benefits in the future."

WEBS is a £20 million project part-funded with £7.8 million from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government. Run by Forestry Commission Wales, 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.

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

Mr James said, "The WEBS team was always on hand to guide us through the application process, sharing our frustrations in funding delays, and providing fantastic support in relation to the layers of information required to make a successful application."

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."

In keeping with his commitment to using a green energy alternative, Mr James was keen to source fuel locally and the wood pellets for the boiler at Blas Gŵyr are supplied by Pembrokeshire Bio Energy.

Mr James said, "We are happy with the technology and our ability to source fuel locally. It has also been a talking point for our guests who have shown much interest in the technology.

"Above all, we are extremely happy that the WEBS grant has enabled us to put into practice our commitment to create a business with good green principles at its core."

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

Photo caption: Dafydd Llyr James and Kerry Bowen-James in front of their new woodfuel boiler at Blas Gŵyr, Llangennith



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 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.