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Wood as fuel - Benefits

Using woodfuel in place of fossil fuels offers a wide range of social, economic and environmental benefits and opportunities.

Saving carbon dioxide

Woodfuel can be a low carbon fuel if using wood from sustainably managed woodlands.,  The biggest savings of carbon dioxide occur when wood replaces carbon intensive fossil fuels, especially in areas that are off the gas grid (i.e. currently heated by electricity, LPG, coal or oil).

Green jobs

The development of a robust woodfuel supply chain requires skilled workers. Rapid uptake of renewable heating will contribute towards creating green jobs and the active management of woodlands presents significant opportunities for rural diversification, new job creation and community volunteering.

Improvements in biodiversity

Bringing woodlands back into management as the market for woodfuel expands has a positive impact on woodland wildlife. Opening up space within woodlands as a result of harvesting activities allows more sunlight in, enabling a wider range of plants, insects and animals to thrive.

Saving money

Woodfuel is cheaper than fossil fuels when replacing electricity, LPG, coal or heating oil. It can help combat fuel poverty and increase business robustness by providing an alternative, competitively priced fuel.

Security of supply

Woodfuel users can protect themselves from declining fossil fuel reserves and geopolitical instabilities. They are also shielded, in part, from the fluctuations and subsequent price variations of the international oil and gas markets.

Reducing waste

Wood that could otherwise end up as waste (e.g. in landfill) can sometimes be used as a resource. For example, wood from some tree surgery work can be used, when refined, to fuel local biomass boilers.

Supporting sustainable forestry

Using woodfuel from well-managed woodlands can stimulate markets for additional forest products and gives woodland owners, managers and communities an incentive to manage their woodlands.  Bringing more wood to market from managed woodlands could increase the availability of high quality timber products such as sawlogs that could replace more carbon intensive building materials.

Last updated: 11th July 2017
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This web section is provided in partnership with DECC.