Forestry Commission logo

Benefits and Grants

Logs ready to be chipped for wood fuel

  • Wood is a carbon neutral source of fuel because existing trees reabsorb the carbon that is released during burning. However, the use of fossil fuels to produce woodfuel results in it being about 97% efficient.
  • Using woodfuel therefore releases CO2 that is part of the natural carbon cycle in contrast to CO2 from fossil fuels that add to carbon levels in the atmosphere.
    Generating heat from recovered clean wood such as joinery waste or pallets and tree prunings (often referred to as arboricultural arisings), reduces landfill and utilises this as an energy source.

Long term cost savings

  • Using wood could save money in the long term. Payback periods can vary between 2 and 10 years typically depending on cost of fuel and heat demand. Boiler maintenance costs can be slightly higher than oil boilers but this is more than offset by the cheaper running costs. Government grants can help to offset high installation costs.
  • Approximately 80% of boiler running costs are associated with fuel costs.

Energy Security and Environmental Sustainability

  • Wood is a reliable, competitively priced source of locally produced energy.
    Our woodlands can support projected woodfuel demands without taking land out of agriculture.
  • Woodfuel can sustain woodland management by utilising the parts of tree that are not normally utilised by sawmills.
  • The Forestry Commission regulate felling operations to ensure that operations are sustainable. Details on applying for a felling licence can be found on our Grants and Regulations pages.

New Jobs

  • Increased use of woodfuel will help to create new jobs, whilst supporting existing rural employment. This can be throughout the supply chain and also during the installation and maintenance of woodfuel boilers. Woodfuel provides more benefits at a local scale.

Air Quality and Efficiency

  • Modern woodfuel boilers (chip, pellet or log) are very efficient, and provided the fuel is dry and not contaminated, will only produce small amounts of smoke, ash and air pollutants.

Wildlife and Landscape Conservation

  • Managing woodland allows light to reach the woodland floor. This helps to create a more diverse structure for flowers, plants, insects, birds and small mammals.
  • Our semi-natural woodlands have been developed thanks to a long history of management by man. The use of fossil fuel has seen a decline in the management of these woodlands and the species that colonise them. New woodfuel markets will secure the future of historic wooded landscapes and continue this tradition of woodland management.


There are a wide range of grants available to support your investment in woodfuel.

For a concise summary of the range of grants available visit the Biomass Energy Centre Grants page