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North East Woodfuel Week 2011 - 16th-23rd October 2011

The Forestry Commission and Northwoods have announced a series of free events across the region to mark North East Woodfuel Week 2011.  The first event is the Northumberland Firewood Fair and will take place Meldon Park Estate, Northumberland on Sunday 16th October, followed by two BioeNEergy and Woodfuel WIG Information Events.  The first at Little Harle, Northumberland on Wednesday 19th October and the second at Barningham Estate, Durham on Friday 21st October.  For further details please contact Lucy Phillips or see our websites for more details on the new Forestry Commission Woodfuel Woodland Improvement Grant (WIG) and Northwoods BioeNEergy Programme.

Woodfuel in the North East

North East England has around 112,000 hectares of woodland, producing about 650,000 tonnes of wood each year.

The Forestry Commission (FC) manages half the woodlands in the region.  Our woodland resource is characterised by large, productive conifer forests, which make up 64% of the North East’s woodlands, unlike the rest of England.

With much of our woodlands already sustainably managed and supplying important existing market, there is less scope for the additional production of woodfuel than in other English regions.  We estimate that by 2020 an additional 100,000 tonnes of wood could be sustainably in the region for the growing woodfuel sector.

The FC is supporting the development of woodfuel – a clean, efficient and renewable energy source. Wood is also a carbon-lean source of energy that can make a substantial contribution towards the UK Government’s work to tackle climate change.

In 2007, the FC launched its Woodfuel Strategy for England.  The strategy’s main aim was to bring an additional two million tonnes of wood into the market, annually by 2020 saving 400,000 tonnes of carbon every year.  This is the equivalent of 3.6 million barrels of crude oil and enough to supply 250,000 homes with energy.

A report undertaken in August 2008 by Dr David Clubb of Northwoods valued the contribution of the biomass sector to the regional economy at of at least £40 million to the north east economy, and that it has the potential to generate at least £76 million per year by 2015 - a 90% increase.  The full report is available on the Northwoods website.

Woodfuel Installations in the NE

The region is home to some very large consumers of woodfuel including Wilton 10 at SembCorp.

There are more than 100 small to medium sized boilers providing heat to a wide range of building including swimming pools, supermarkets, schools, pubs and hotels.  The location of these can be found on the regional boimass boiler installation map.

The 300kW Kielder scheme, which is operated by the FC, is one of a small number of wood-fuelled district heating schemes in the UK.

Suppliers of Woodfuel

Working with Northwoods [external link] we have produced a list of woodfuel producers and suppliers [pdf 205k].  Alternatively you can access a list of suppliers via the northwoods website.

Support for Businesses Producing Woodfuel

The RDPE [external link] funded Bioenergy Programme provides funding for forestry contractors and others wanting to invest in equipment, machinery, and storage facilities related to the harvesting, or processing of woodfuel.  Further details are available from the Rural Development Initiative [external link].  Grants have been awarded to harvesters, firewood processors, storage facilities and other capital investments to support the growth of supply.

You may also be interested in joining the regional woodfuel producer group - NEWFuels details here [external link].

Training and Events

  • The award-winning Ignite [external link] courses provide training in woodfuel production and supply.

Useful Publications

Woodfuel Meets the Challenge - provides a valuable general introduction to woodfuel.

Biomass heating; a practical guide for potential users - a recent, in depth guide from the Carbon Trust.

Woodfuel Heating in The North of England - a useful reference produced by the national Non-Food Crops Centre, including case studies.


Richard Pow in the Forestry Commissions woodfuel officer for the North of England.

Last updated: 2nd March 2016